Friday, April 27, 2012

Not Again

Patchadoodle on the Loose

Somehow Patch got out of the garage.

Back to square one.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Progress of a Sort

Patchadoodle Incarcerated

I have Patches locked in the car garage. He is up in the ceiling, meowing at me, but he will not come to me yet.

I had to block off the window at one end, but otherwise, I'm pretty sure the garage is secure.

Stupid me first locked him in there with the car inside. Dumb, as if I needed to go anywhere, I was stuck not daring to open the door. However, I managed to get the overhead door open, and to get the car out while keeping him inside so all is almost well--as long as I don't need the truck for anything.

I have a ladder in there and every couple hours I go out, climb up and talk to him. I have food set out for him on the floor so if he's hungry, that's good. And the floor is dirt so he's not going to make too much of a mess in there--at least not one I can't clean up. I have all kinds of things stuffed in the window to make it impassable. It's an old window on brackets that seem to be either broken or rusted so I can't actually close it. But I think the blockage will hold.

Now, it's a waiting game and a time to just try to make friends again. He meows to me every time I go in there, so he is relating, but he's still too scared or reverted to the wild to trust me enough to let me touch him. I'm pretty sure that one petting will be all I need to get him back into my good graces.

Meantime, the two terrors seem to have adapted pretty well to the sunroom. Misty, of course, wants to come out into the rest of the house, but with her attitude towards the other cats, that's a definite no go. Peppercorn has managed to discover the luxury of sleeping on the couch and is letting me handle him more and more. It's not an ideal habitat for cats as they do need more room to exercise and entertain themselves, but for now, it will have to do. Once Patches is back inside, I will let the two of them outside again.

Perhaps, instead of chasing Patches, they can use their terrorist skills to keep the rats at bay in the barn. At least their presence MIGHT intimidate a rat or two. *sigh*

Note here: all cats are not good ratters. It takes a certain bravado and wisdom to take on a rat and it's not related to size. My good ratter was a little female who would take down a rat more than half her size in a flash.

Perhaps the "terrorist tag team" can do as well together.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back to Square 1.2

Patchadoodle Update

For those following the Patches saga with bated breath, I figured I'd post a morning update.

I fed the horses, then headed over to the neighbors's house to see if Patches was in view. No go.

A little disheartened, I headed back to my yard, and called a few more times. Good thing my hearing is still pretty intact. I heard an answering meow.  I called again and finally zeroed in on the source of the kitty voice.

It was coming from the rafters of the car garage. There is a storage area up there and sure enough, soon my little black and white furry face appeared overhead. I had the cat food dish in hand, with some nice rattly dry food and a healthy helping of tasty canned food.  So I called and shook it.

In a minute or so, Patches jumped down onto my truck and finally the ground.

But he still kept his distance. This time, though, he kept rolling around on the driveway, one of the first signs of "making friends."  I didn't approach him, but put the food where he could see it and sat down nearby. He keep rolling and meowing, showing his anxiety and inner conflict, but he wouldn't come to the food as long as I was too close. So I moved off and let him be. He went to the bowl and ate. but he was still nervous about it. I guess he thought any minute he'd be pounced on by the feline tag team.

I didn't press my luck, but it's really good news to know that he was actually in the garage. That means he's testing out the territory again and, the carport, where I store my hay, is where we first made our real frienship. I am estimating that in a few days we will be back together and I'll have him inside again.

But, as with all animals, I need to be patient.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Mystery of Patchadoodle

Now That We Know Where He Is

If you've been following my blog, you know that my indoor kitty, Patchadoodle got out of the house through an open screen and has been missing since Wednesday. I have been hunting for him every day, inhibited by my two barn kitties, Peppercorn and Misty, who are very territorial and apparently chased Patches from my property.

Yesterday was my birthday and I had hoped for a happy discovery, but alas, there was a terrific rainstorm here which made kitty searching difficult.

I had called my animal communicator in California on Friday, and was hoping I'd hear back from her since this was an emergency.  She finally called sometime on Sunday with an apology as she had been tied up in a conference and was not able to be of much help right away. But she left phone numbers of four other communicators she felt could be of more immediate assistance.  I called all four, and managed to connect with one, Marta--also in California. ( I live in New Jersey.)

Marta and I arranged a consult later in the afternoon.  I sent her some pictures of Patches, a Google Earth photo of my house and the neighboring area, and a full story of what had happened. Complications slowed the process down until early evening here as the rains poured down. But finally, Marta called to tell me that Patches was OK, but scared to come home because of the other attacking cats. I told her I was working on getting them locked up somewhere and to assure Patches that it would indeed be safe for him to come home.

Then, Marta asked me if there was a house with a dumpster nearby. Sure enough, the house next to my Aunt's next door does have a dumpster in the front yard. "Patches is there," Marta said. "Get in the car and go over there right away."

By this time, I'd already snagged Peppercorn and locked him in the sunroom, but I didn't have Misty yet. I don't think she was the main antagonist, but I told Marta to tell Patches it was safe and I'd be right there.

Out I went. It was teeming down rain, and I think we were in the peak of the storm. I walked all over my neighbor's yard, calling and calling. I looked under the dumpster, everywhere. No Patches.

Disheartened I came back home, sopping wet. No cat in his right mind would have been out in that weather--except for Misty who managed to run out to the barn across the yard where I finally caught her too and locked her in the sun room.

Fast forward to this morning, about 8 AM. I went out into the horse's pasture which backs up to the neighbor's dumpster house, and there was Patches, sitting on a rock at the edge of the flower garden!! As soon as I called him, he started meowing to me, but he would not come.  Despite food and coaxing, I spent well over an hour and a half trying to get my hands on him, but no success. He did, however, come as far as my back yard, behind the garage where I gave him some food.  Then he slipped away again, and I've not seen him since.

So, definite sighting and a first step in recovery. I do have a trap, but it has such a hair trigger, I'm not sure it would work. My neighbor from the other side has a trap as well that may be better, so I am hoping I will be able to borrow it. I bought some nice fishy cat food and will try to get my little buddy back.

He is spooked and has reverted to some feral behavior--not unexpected--so it may take some effort on my part to reassure him and bring him in to safety.

Ironically, I was totally convinced he had gone to the other side of my property and not in this direction. But Marta was right on target. The house with the dumpster is exactly where Patches was.

Now all I need to do is get him home.

Just hope the fat raccoon I saw last night doesn't end up in the trap instead.  If I do set the trap, I will be going out every couple hours to check it, however, so if anything gets caught it won't be stuck in there for long.

Hope it's a Patchadoodle.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Wherein I Wear Myself Out

Since it is supposed to rain this weekend, and since I got my first order of fly predators, I decided I had better clean all the old hay out of both run in shed areas.

While this is a tractor job, the bucket scoop does dig all the hay up, but then it tends to roll off and out into piles instead of ending up in the bucket. That leaves me with a hefty job of using the sharp pronged hay fork to lift it into the bucket so I can cart it off to the manure pile.  The layers of wet hay can be really heavy and hard to manage.  Anyone who has cleaned up a used hay pile after the winter knows exactly what I am talking about here. Not fun.

But it needs to be done to keep the pest population down as wet hay is a great place for flies to breed.  I worked for a couple hours on Thursday clearing the area around Chance's stall door where much of the old hay had mixed in with mud. Fun.  Then I moved over to the other side of the barn and cleared in front of Tucker's stall before I quit, worn out for the day. I finished the last two thirds of the shed roof in front of Toby's stall on Friday. Then I pretty much stripped Tucker's and Toby's stalls again wearing myself out.

Today, I stripped Chance's stall, using the wheelbarrow. Lots of hay strewn about again.  Seems the Boys are getting picky about the hay now that they have a little grass to nibble on. All three are presently bedded in uneaten hay which is hard to clean but does make a nice bed.

That done, I decided I'd better ride Chance with that goal of building up his stifle ever in mind.  I started off in the arena, trotting him for a good ten minutes.  Going on the right rein, he feels fine, but when I switch to the left, his stride shortens on the turns and sometimes he gives a little "skip" breaking stride into a canter for a split second until I correct it.  He needs to trot to build up the muscle.  As the flat part of the ride progressed, he became a little more even and I also figured out how to ride him--good contact on the outside rein with a softening bend to the inside, while giving with my hand to push him forward--to keep the stride more even on the ends of the arena.

After ten minutes of trot on the flat, I headed out to the pasture to do some trotting up and down the hills.  We have some pretty challenging slopes out there so the first two circuits, I walked down and trotted up. Then, more sure of Chance's ability to keep himself in balance on the downslope. I trotted down and up three more times, making it five good hill climbs and another ten minutes of trotting. All in all it was a good workout--for both of us.

When I got off, my legs felt like wet noodles.  I have to laugh a bit. Riding in the arena does not bother me too much, but the added balancing and work of riding the hills did me in.  I had to work on my balance as well as Chance's and really RIDE.

I had to opt out of riding Tucker.  Wet noodles do not make for a good seat on an opinionated Thoroughbred.

On the sad side, there is still no sign of Patches.  I posted a notice on the entrance to the woods where the fishermen park, called my neighbors and dropped a poster off at the farmhouse on the hill as well as at the first house down the road.  If nothing has happened to him, I keep thinking Patches would stay at least in the territory of the house, but you never know.  It all depends on just what kind of threats Misty and Peppercorn made to him.

I miss my little furry face, and I'm worried about him.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Good, the Not So Bad, and the Bad

"One woe doth tread upon another's fast they follow."  Hamlet Act IV, vii. 

Good news, bad news....

The Misty indoor kitty situation did not work, so I put her outside where she seems quite happy with Peppercorn. That's good. What's no so bad is that she and Peppercorn are a tag team duo and they follow me all around. But what's bad is that the "tag team" has apparently ganged up on my sweet Patchadoodle who somehow managed to push out the screen in the front window and get outside.

At least I think he's outside since I can't find him in the house and the screen was definitely pushed out.  Blessing is that none of the other indoor kitties followed him. Of the group, he is the only one who has had any experience surviving outdoors, so that is a minor plus.  The major negative is that Misty and Pepper are patrolling the property and twice now I have heard a cat battle out there. Since they do not fight each other, I can only presume that it's poor Patch being driven away.

I didn't discover the screen until late last night when it chilled off and I went to close the window, I thought Patches was in the back room curled up somewhere sleeping, but apparently he got out sometime during the day or perhaps even early morning before I got up. I feel foolish that I didn't notice that he was missing sooner, but my kitties do crash in closets and odd places to sleep, so I just rushed off to school--I subbed yesterday--and didn't think twice about it.

Well, I've been thinking about it now and I didn't sleep at all once I realized he was gone. And I was up at 6 AM to go out looking for him. I tried locking Misty and Pepper on the back porch, but they both managed to get out again, so every time I go out one or both of them are at my feet, discouraging Patches from making an appearance. This whole mess is one big worry!!

On the horse front, since I had no class at the end of the day, I had to make a decision--to wait for an hour until the swimming pool opened, or to come home to ride.

Guess what? I opted to ride!

It has been really dry and dusty here over the last week or so--although rain is supposed to some on the weekend--and when I lunged Chance and Tucker on Tuesday, I raised quite a cloud. So, I decided a trail ride would be the better option.

I took Chance out first on the longer trail, going all the way back to the far side of the woods, using all the little hills along the was for some "stifle trotting,"  I also trotted a fair stretch on the way back.  I guess we were out for around 25 minutes or so. Not a biggie, but enough to get some exercise. He was, as always, a good boy.

I trotted Tucker in the arena for perhaps 10 minutes, going over the raised cavaletti I had set up to make it a little more interesting. Since he seemed pretty quiet about all that, I headed out into the woods with him. This time, we took the new trail.  It's pretty winding at the end as I had to pick a path around both a fallen tree and a good stand of briars. I guess when Tuck hit the trail to come back home and realized where he was he thought--fortunately only thought--that a nice little buck of celebration was in order. I gave him a sharp correction the first instant I felt his intent and he settled quickly back into a nice walk for the rest of the way home.

So, Chance gets an A+ and Tucker gets a B+ this time. Frankly, it's why I don't take Tucker out more often. He does have a wicked buck and I'm afraid I can't sit it was well as Caroline sits Ace, so I am cautious when I ride him. It's kind of a double edged sword because I'm sure if we did more fun things he'd probably settle down and stop being silly, but we can't do the fun things as long as he's likely to be silly.  This threat to buck had no provocation whatsoever. It was just something to do, I guess.

It's not been the best of days, but riding is always a good thing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

90 Degrees Plus

And I Substituted Again

So, yesterday the temperatures soared to over 90F.  The only blessing was that the humidity was low, so it did not feel horrible. Still, the horses sweated. They have not completely shed out their winter coats, so there was an extra layer of hair--here and there--keeping them a bit warmer than they should have been.  It was definitely too hot to work them.  Later in the season, when they are better acclimated, that kind of day would be fine, but not now.

I spent the day at school, subbing for a history teacher. It was an easy day since she left assignments for everyone and the students were--as always--good as gold.

Then I went for a nice swim. I think I did eleven laps, but I lost count at 6 or seven, so I think I added one to the ten I'd planned. Since I hadn't been swimming in a couple weeks, I didn't push myself beyond that.  And, by swimming for 25 minutes and not changing out of my wet suit for the drive home, I managed to avoid rush hour--4:30--by about ten minutes.  That made the drive through the little town I have to pass through to get back out to the highway a lot easier than usual.  There are about 6 traffic lights and usually the main street gets all congested adding a good bit of time to my homeward trip.

I still detoured off the highways US 1 to US 130 because of the construction delays on 130, but that only adds a few minutes more when I take the back roads.  Years ago, when the Academy first opened, I probably could have taken a job there as an English teacher.  Clearly, there would have been a lot of benefits as the school is wonderful, but the drive there is more than double the distance to the school where I did teach for 38 years. (15 miles as opposed to 6 miles)  With the horses at home, and no highway driving involved, I opted out of the opportunity.  Now, going there off and on to sub is just fine, but even those months when I was  full time there replacing one of the teachers on maternity leave, some days that drive was just dreadful.  I'm not sure I could have done it for years and years.

Still, it is a wonderful school and it's such a pleasure seeing how effective education can be when all the piece are fit together almost perfectly.  The only thing I would change would be to add a performance/assembly room to the building. The students are very creative and it would be nice for them to have a suitable stage area where they could put on performances and show off their talents. The common area is too acoustically open so its not good for sound and when they do present skits and things, it's almost impossible for the audience to hear well. Other than that the building layout is great and well maintained.  It's s nice atmosphere with good people inside.

It's beautiful out today, but once again, I had a chiropractic adjustment so I am not likely to ride. However, I do hope to lunge Chance and Tucker a bit later.  I'll get Chance trotting up those hills again to work those muscles. And Tucker? Maybe I'll have him do a bit of jumping.

On the kitty front, I just put Misty back outside. Her aggressive attitude toward the indoor Boys was stressing them out far too much.  I suspect that given a lot of time and effort on my part it could have worked out, but my kittyboys are far too sweet to be tormented through all that.

The nice thing was that as soon as she did go out, she trotted right over to Peppercorn and the two of them happily sniffed noses.  Clearly, their relationship is still fine, even in the new "neutral" stage.  I'm glad of that since Peppercorn was acting a bit lonely out there.  Hopefully the two of them will keep each other company and stay safely on my property.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Plan Fail

Once Again I Don't Do

I was going to work the Boys.  Fail.

On Thursday, I took Peppercorn in to be neutered. That took time out of the morning. Then, I needed to call to check on him around noon, so I just kind of hung out and did computer things.  Then, they said I could go pick him up around 2 PM.  I had decided to take Misty back for a feline leukemia test to see if she could become a housecat, so that added to the trip back to the vet.  By the time I was done with all that--and the wind--the day just slipped by and I was worn out.

Friday? Stunningly beautiful day. But, I had signed up for a Tack Swap at a local saddle store and needed to get all the extra tack and equipment I don't need together to see if I could sell it.

Needless to say, a number of leather goods, including two synthetic saddles, needed some serious cleaning. Collecting, cleaning, sorting, and packing the car took most of the day. And, oh, yes, I had to go on a little shopping trip to see what kind of labels or tags I could buy to put prices on the stuff I was selling.  By the time I was done, it was feeding time, so one more day slipped by.

On the plus side, much to my surprise, Peppercorn is not at all upset with me. As a matter of fact, he is being decidedly friendly and kept me company the whole time I was doing the tack thing. He still wants me to pet him when I feed him and is hanging around closer to the house.  I was not at all confident that he knew what a litter box was, so I did not even consider giving him the "in house" option.  I'm not keen about outdoor kitties here with all the road traffic, but I had to make a decision.

Misty is indoors for now. There's been a lot of hissing and some growling, but generally things are pretty quiet. We'll just have to wait and see how she fits in. My kittyboys are a content, sociable pride and I don't want to disrupt that with a new cat--and a girl at that--but I think it will be OK. I do know she certainly likes the idea of being indoors.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Fitness Program Begins

And Tucker Walks the Trail

I lunged today. It was a bit windy again and I just felt better on the ground.  

No need to worry too much as Tucker was perfect on the lunge line. Granted, it's just some walk, trot and canter in the halter at the end of the line--more exercise than training--but he often plays up at it.  Not today.

So, after we finished our session, I took him out for a lead walk through the woods trail, introducing him to the new trail in the process. He was not impressed and much more interested in grabbing bites from every leafy tree we passed on the way.  I indulged him--mostly--as long as when I said, "Let's go," he did. We had a few moments of too much focus on the leaves and not enough on me, but for the most part, he was a good boy.

When I got back, I put the halter and line on Chance and lunged him in the paddock area in front of the barn. The footing there is sandy, but a little uneven, so he had to work a little more to keep his balance, pace, and footing.  We did a good bit of trotting. As Muriel noted, trotting is the key to strengthening stifles as it's the gait that builds the muscle around the joint.

And, hills are an important part of developing the muscle fitness a "stifle horse" needs. So when we finished in the paddock, I took him out to the pasture. There are some really nice hills out there with varied steepness, all of a nice length for lunging or even riding to get a horse fitter without overdoing it.

I may have pushed Chance a little too long, as he took one bad stride on the left rein, as if his right hind just kind of "collapsed" under him--although he may have tripped. So I cut the exercise short on the right rein and then called it a day.

Tomorrow, if I get the chance, I will ride him on the trail again, perhaps using the hill along the farm field to give him some work under saddle.  If it's not too breezy, I will try to ride Tucker out on the mini trail, but we'll see about that.

I have also captured a very unhappy Peppercorn who is now in the cage in the sunroom with Misty to keep him company. Tomorrow, he goes to the vet for neutering. He may never trust me again--who knows?--but it is for his own good as well as the good of any female cats within roaming distance of my house.  As much as I love cats, the world does not need litters of stray kittens with a shiny black daddy.

I hope he will forgive me in time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Trail

Cleared and Ridden

I hiked the new trail this morning with my tree trimmer and weed whip.  I marked it yesterday, so I knew where I was going and where the briars were.  Clearing them was no big deal as I had chosen a path that was pretty clear already.  I had to trim a few branches and after about an hour's work, I had a path across what was once my Grandmother's corn field.

I had to get the car registration renewed and the car inspected, so that took up the bulk of the early afternoon--trying to get to motor vehicle when there was a short line in the inspection station took a bit of effort and, essentially, three trips over.  (It's only about 2 1/2 miles or so from my house.

That done--car passed just fine--I decided I needed to see if the trail was "horse friendly."

I saddled up Chance and started off with a bit of walk-trot in the arena. He is not 100% sound on his hind end going to the left. My farrier and I, as well as my vet, suspect he has a bit of a stifle issue on the right.  Going on that concept, the only thing that is going to make it better is to leg him up and build some muscle there.  And, the only way to really do that is to trot.  So, I am going to try my hardest to be diligent over the next several weeks to see how he improves with some proper fitness.  After about a week of trotting on the flat, I will add some hill work to the program.

But, on to the trail.  I may have missed a little branch or two at rider height, but nothing serious. Otherwise, the little trail is just fine.  At the most, it might take ten minutes to ride at a walk from gate to gate--maybe less--but it's a nice little break from the arena and might well be a good way to cool off after a schooling session.  I would have taken Tucker out too, but my knees said "not today."  The added work of clearing the trail was just about enough extra exercise for them before a ride.

I veered off the little trail into the woods with Chance to be out longer, as it was a lovely day. Then, on the way back, I took the new trail again, and this time turned towards home at the end instead of into the woods. I can't say Chance was overly pleased, but he's a good boy out in the "wild" and a nice steady ride.

I think my next mission is to see if I can blaze a trail out to where my Grandmother's house used to be with the intent of getting out to the dirt road that heads back to the lake. If I can manage that, I'll be able to add another "local loop" to the trails I already have, giving us some variety without having to go too far from home. Unfortunately the trail around the lake has been so rutted up by the ATV's that places are nearly impassable when it's wet. It really used to be a lovely ride, but no more. However, I do wonder if I hiked some of the high ground out there--perhaps with some friends--if we might find ways to get the horses around the worst of the swampy stuff.

Meantime, I'll do some adventuring closer to home and see what I can do to give myself some friendly places to go.  Hopefully, Tucker will appreciate it.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter, Everyone

Peace at Follywoods

Not much on the horsey front here. I poo picked the arena yesterday and took a nice walk. It was a bit breezy--well windy, kind of.

I walked through the woods where my grandmother's field used to end. There is actually a fairly clear passageway there. What was once a cultivated farm field is now totally forested, but along the "back" there seems to be a bit of an open area. I think, with a little work, I can clear a nice trail.  If so, it will be a good place to ride where the ATV's and such will not be likely to bother me. It might only be a ten minute trail ride, but when I want to get out of the arena, it would be a nice option.

Most of the passage is pretty obvious, but there is one place where some huge trees have fallen over so I need to clear a way around them.  I have a couple cans of florescent orange spray paint to mark the trees so I can find my way.  I don't think I'll have a chance to do it today, but it is a project for next week.

Meantime to one and all:

Friday, April 06, 2012

Safe and Sound

Misty is "Mommy" No More

Misty cat has been spayed. $200 later--and that was with a stray cat discount--she is safe in the sunroom, recovering from her surgery. Had I had the time or the desire to drive close to an hour to a special spay clinic, I could have saved a bunch of money, but getting an appointment and then driving that distance might have complicated things even more. I have no idea how close Misty was to becoming a mama, and I don't really want to know, but I was pretty sure if I'd put off the spaying to search out a more economical solution, I might have had a litter of kittens to deal with as well.

On the plus side, the vet said he would neuter Peppercorn for $50, so that's a good deal. I might get that done next week. We'll see. For now, just knowing Misty is OK is enough for me.

Tucker lost a shoe yesterday morning, so I called Scott. We were several weeks overdue for routine shoeing anyhow, but none of the Boys's hoofs had grown too much, for some reason.

Lo and behold, the phone rang around noon time and it was Scott telling me he was on his way and would be here in under and hour.  When I went out to sweep the barn aisle, the Boys all came in from the pasture on their own, so it was an easy matter to lock them in their stalls to wait for their friend, the farrier.

Sure enough, Scott was soon parked in the back yard, and Mick, his border collie was parked on my back step waiting to play with me .

Was anything remarkable about the shoeing?  Yes. Tucker. He was an absolutely perfect gentleman, today.
Well, that was after he apparently gave Scott a little trouble when he went in to halter him.  Apparently, he swung his head away from the halter and then got "really tall."  Now Scott is not a tall guy himself, so Tucker's head up--17 h. at withers--was rather out of reach.  Scott said, he just waited as he didn't want to get Tucker riled up, but I guess once the bad boy decided Scott was not exactly pleased with the game, he let himself get haltered, and then once on the crossties, decided to be totally charming.  Usually, while he is good to handle, when Scott goes out to the truck to shape the shoes, Tucker wiggled around on the ties, ending up with his butt end against the barn wall and his feet banging the brooms, ladder, or anything else stored there.

Today? He never moved a foot but stood quietly and politely the whole time. He didn't lean at all when Scott picked up his feet and he did not nibble at Scott's back or do anything at all amiss. It was so unexpected, both Scott and I wondered if he was feeling OK. I will definitely keep an eye on him, but perhaps, now that he has reached the wise age of 12, he has finally settled on a more mature attitude??

Needless to say, Scott made a fuss over him when the job was done.  I think Tucker really liked that.

Also, needless to say, both Toby and Chance were practically perfect in every way.

Mick and I had some fun playing fetch, although we had to take it easy because Scott said he'd hurt his leg the week before. We cut the game short twice to get him to rest. Mick was not pleased about that as he is the typical border collie perpetual motion machine, but when his "dad" says, "Mick, that's enough, go lie down," he obeys--at least for a few minutes. *G*

It was a lovely day, but the midafternoon shoeing put me off of riding since I was going out to an early dinner.

I met some friends in the nearby town for the Elks Club's annual Lenten fish dinner. Many service organizations in the nearby towns run fundraising fish fries every Friday during Lent.  We've gone before and had a super meal and tonight was no exception. I'm not a fish eater, but I had delicious fried shrimp while one friend had the flounder and the other a seafood combo of flounder, scallops, and shrimp.  They offer a salad bar, a baked potato, and dessert for what a nice meal would cost in a restaurant, and, to be honest, the food is exceptional!

Maybe next Lent we will try some of the dinners at other places, but I doubt they will live up to the quality of this meal.  They also offered: shrimp scampi, shrimp parmesan, fish parmesan, stuffed flounder, fried oysters,  jumbo shrimp, clams on the half shell, clam chowder, and pasta. Everything is home made and beautifully cooked.

So, I may not have ridden, but I had a horsey day and ended it with a very happy tummy.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Barn Kitties

Just My Luck

You've all "met" Peppercorn, if you read this blog. He's the black barn kitty I've adopted. I've managed to get him fairly tame, so I was planning on taking him to the vet soon to have him neutered.

Enter Misty, stage wrong. A sweet little powder gray striped tabby cat showed up a while ago. I knew she was about, but didn't get a good glimpse of her until the end of last week. A slight tri-color to her coat indicated she is a female, but more telling is the suspiciously round belly.

Poor little thing is bony, except for that belly, so I'm pretty sure she is pregnant. Bummer. The last thing I need around here is kittens. But I don't want to call animal control to pick her up as she would most likely be euthanized. Cat rescues are already overstressed, and I'm perfectly fine giving her and outdoor home here--except for the kittens.

Friends of Animals offers low cost spay/neuter certificates, but they take a week or more to arrive, and when I called one of the providing vets, the total cost skyrocketed from the price of the initial certificate. The fact that Misty is probably pregnant complicated the matter even more.

I finally found a local vet who will do a spay for a slight discount--let's say about $100 less than the other quotes I got, so I made an appointment for this week. Fortunately, Misty warmed up to me pretty quickly once she realized I was provider of canned food, so I'm hoping I can catch her without too much trouble.

I have the crate I used the last time a female had kittens here--Mommycat, who still visits from my neighbor's house whenever she wants fany vittles--so I need to set that up in the sunroom. If I can get Misty caught on Wednesday, then I will keep her in the cage overnight and take her to the vet early Thursday morning. I don't know how far along she is in her pregnancy, and I do feel bad about it, but bringing a litter of homeless kittens into the world is not my idea of being a responsible animal lover.

It's pretty clear Misty is used to people as it only took one day of introduction before I could touch her. How horrible to think that someone probably just tossed her out.

One the other hand, I do suspect Peppercorn was probably the "responsible party" in her pregnancy.  But, if so, he is not being an absent father.  Last night, when I was feeding the horses---and giving Pepper his evening meal--Misty appeared at the barn door. She started to come in, saw me and ran back out, not sure of her welcome. Pepper left his food dish, scuttled out the door himself and, a second later, returned with Misty. Apparently he had gone out to tell her it was OK and to come on in for another meal. It was really kind of cute.

This morning, both kitties were in the barn, waiting for me. Misty "talked" to me as I doled out the food, so, again, it's pretty apparent she is used to human interaction.

Sad, indeed. I've said it before, but it seems a barn/farm is an open invitation for people to toss out unwanted animals. And I'll say it again--IT'S NOT!!!

Horse news is somewhat limited. I subbed on Friday, it rained on Saturday and Sunday, and today it is supposed to be windy. I'll wait till later in the day to see how settled it is outside. I do have to poo pick the riding arena, so that may be a priority--and it's kind of wet out there anyway.

The Boys are spending a lot of time out in the pasture, nibbling the new grass as fast as it comes in. The rain my inspire some growth, but it will be quickly trimmed by three Boys eager for a taste of green after the winter.

Spring, with all its new adventures, has begun at Follywoods.