Thursday, July 28, 2016

Missing the Sea

Sometimes I so miss the ocean I can literally smell a dried starfish and hear the waves. My family took two trips to Gulf Coast in Alabama when I was a child. I was then invited to go to the beach for a few years by a friend. I have stayed in a tent on the beach, a hotel on the beach and a fancy rental house. But always right on the beach. Always private and away from the tourist crowds off season. I have seen clear sea water, brown Gulf water and things in between. But there have always been sea shells, starfish and sand. I have been on every coast South, West and East.
I have  gone swimming with dolphins, sharks, biting fish, wild ponies and Navy seals. I have been pulled by the undertow three times in my life. Always broke the swimming with a partner rule. Just learned to swim with the shore until I could get back in. I have almost drowned two times in my life in the salt water. But I still love the ocean. Living in Missouri, land locked I feel the pull to the ocean, badly. The rivers are great but sometimes I miss the salty air. Growing up in New Orleans, you could taste the salty fog and smell the water in the air. Hurricanes and storms brought that wonderful smell up from the Gulf. If you did not grow up there or near the ocean, then you just don't understand. I miss the feeling of sand between my toes even cold sand. And its not the eating and partying, I miss the long walks with the sound of seagulls, waves and wind. I would walk or swim alone for miles. It was so wonderful and peaceful.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bird Heaven

I few years ago we went to a pet store in West Plains and they talked about an aviary they maintain in a local nursing home nearby. They told us to go and see their work, but we never did. Until a friend had to stay there and we visited. And we saw this amazing aviary for finches and canary.

It has two doors, glass and screening with oak frame and gravel floor.


Sticks for perches, lights for heat above on top of grid plastic ceiling.

Excelsior nesting wall, nest boxes and fish bone.


Happy nesting birds

My husbands favorite.

When I was young my grandmother had budgie, canary and a myna bird in her home. The birds were kept spic and span and their cages were cleaned daily. They sang and flew around the house while the we cleaned their cages. But this was so much better than those steel wire cages. These bird fly around and are happy. They get switched out and brought to the pet store. But mostly they live in this clean large aviary. Colorful finches and singing canary what a wonderful happy bunch of birds. And this enclosure makes the residents happy as well.

Orphan Two

Two weeks ago another duckling hatched and was left behind. This is the second one this summer. Raising a single duckling is tricky. They will either thrive and bond with us or they will always be afraid. This one is afraid of us. I think because she was hatched by a chicken, and left without food and water for some time she has brain damage. But she eats and swims and is growing. When she is big enough she will go out into the duck nursery AKA bunny yard in the cooler months to grow up. Then after she has her feathers in she will be released into the flock with her adopted bonded older duck leader. The duck leader is always an older female I put in the nursery yard to show the baby how to be a duck. Ducks tend to bond for life. They stay with the ducks of their flock. When I get a single baby, I have to force a bond. The older duck will show them how to eat, where to swim and how to hide. Now my older duck gets to raise one more in the coming weeks. This small flock of three will rejoin the farm flock as soon as they are fully feathered. I could have euthanized both of these orphans or let nature take care of them. But I hate to see an animals suffer on my farm. Life is a gift and worth saving. And if they grow up to be females then I get a bonus of an egg layer. If they are males, I can sell them at the farm auction if I do not need them.

Here is the duck nursery. Shade overhead with cattle panel hooped over and two dogs that guard at night. They go into a large dog crate at night that is raccoon proofed. This is until they are big enough to use the coop.

Tea for Two


Adolf the female

Bloody Butt, also a female

After a crazy Saturday I finally got homes for all but 2 of the 9 kittens we fostered. I got 2 calls to see my kittens at the same place and time. I forgot 1 of the kittens and had to go back home and fetch her for her new owners. The no -kill shelter who asked for our help has been riddled with cat diseases this summer. An deathly upper respiratory and now ringworm have plagued the shelter. I think they have poor cleaning issues and lack of isolation for incoming felines. So this meant that the herd I was fostering stayed much longer than I planned. Isn't that the way of things? So to keep from falling in love with these kittens my husband and I come of with awful names for them. Adolf has an historic evil mustache and Bloody Butt, had some issues in the #2 department. Both females are sweet and super soft.  All their other litter mates were requested and picked up. Which was hard since I really liked the black short haired. I had never had a black cat before and now I understand the popularity. She was called Black Mamba. But she and 2 others were picked up and taken to Redfern. These 2 silvers however, are still at our home until the shelter has an opening. I have less food now and a ton less litter changes and clean ups.
One of the bad parts of fostering is unknown diseases brought into your home cat herd. After a month all seemed well so we let them run about. But this week three of my adult cats had ulcerated red eyes. Like a house of pirate cats. It was not feline herpes but feline chlamydia or the clap, that is now in my household. These kittens mom cat had this or they picked it up from their home. I have worked with many cats and this is a first for me. So in goes the cortisone free eye goop 2-3 times a day for 3 cats. It is working. Fostering mean a lot of clean up, medical care, vet visits and then you give them away. But I get to see them get healthy, become good cats and have a great beginning to their cat life. I am happy with that. Besides, a bunch of kittens is fun to play with.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sock it to me



When you foster kittens they sometimes have health problems. This silver tabby female was having lack of bowel control. Leaving her in a cage saved my clean up time but was stunting her mental health. So I googled a solution another kitten foster parent tried, the sock diaper.

Using an old sock with a feminine pad in the back and holes cut for the legs and tail. I used large safety pins at the neck.

After a few sizing issues and falling over on her side she got the hang of it. She took off right away, up the stairs to join her litter mates.

She is waiting for the String-a-ma-fling to move.

All that fun she joined Melon for a nap like a normal kitten.


She no longer wears the sock as I changed to dry food only. She still has gas issues but she can control her eliminations. 

Away from Me

These are 2 of 9 foster kittens I have. These two got new homes this week.

This blue eyed beauty is smart and loves attention. We are on the fence about keeping her as she has attached herself to my husband. She is a very dominant kitten and we already have an alpha female cat in the house.

Melon then silver tabby then the Siamese are all piled together on my sofa. The silver tabby has had a leaky bottom so she was wearing a sock. I changed their food to dry and things cleared up.



From My Garden to my Table


This spring I planned to have a lot of flowers. I bought bulbs every time I went to the store. After my husband dumped several loads of compost into my flower beds I got to work. In the rains of early spring I worked in the mud then put up chicken wire all around my beds. This was to keep my poultry, dogs and cats from digging up my bulbs. This summer it is all blooming.

Next were all the seedlings I had in my greenhouse. Tomatoes and cucumbers all started then moved to various parts of my farm. Now I have them all producing happily in this heat.



This is a pumpkin pancake made from pumpkin pulp I saved from last year. Very tasty and reminds me of fall.

Along with coffee steeping, I have my sweet potato starts rooting in my kitchen.

My husband seasoned this old cast iron pan and it is perfect for pancake making. No teflon, no aluminum - just good quality cast iron.