February 2018 archive

Farm Friday 02.23.2018

What a weather week! We went from a nice 60’s temps on Monday to LOTS of rain on Tuesday which turned to ice on Wednesday and Thursday. The horses are so tired of being in the barn!

Murtagh likes to help me with hay chores. He especially likes to ride on the hay in the wheelbarrow. He’s the best tack room kitty!

 

I can’t get enough of these two. Dickens is so sweet and let’s Patches chew on his ear for as long as she wants. Who needs a super sweet chihuahua?!

 

 

Jaguar lives in his own paddock now. He will be 25 this year and the baby horse shenanigans can be too much for his old bones. He likes opening the barn door for some self serve hay. He’s always been a master at opening doors and gates.

 

 

The ice accumulation has been hard on the trees in our area. I’m hoping these crape myrtles don’t break from the weight of all that ice, but they sure are pretty!

Winter’ish

Up until this week we have had pretty much zero precipitation since 2017. The grass is always pretty brown this time of year, but it was starting to get a bit alarming. Well never fear, Mother Nature is here! Since Monday we have gotten more than 4″ of rain in Azle. According to the rain gauge we have gotten close to 5″ at our house!

It was in the high 60s and raining when I left the house yesterday morning. When I got home after work it was in the 40s and the temps were going down quickly. I felt like a horrible horse Mom because 3 of the 4 horses were shivering. I quickly got them all bundled in their warmest blankets and filled their faces with hay. I keep them in their stalls with runs when it rains a lot so they don’t destroy the pasture or hurt themselves by playing in the mud.

We awoke this morning to ICE! Temps were around the high 20s, but thankfully the ice wasn’t really sticking. I opted for a delayed trip to work to avoid the crazy Texas drivers in the ice and rain so I snapped a few pics around the farm. Ice on the trees is almost as pretty as hoarfrost. It has been three years since we have had a good snow. Hopefully winter 2018-2019 will deliver.

Icy trees outside the backyard and in the goat pen.

 

The crape myrtles always look pretty when they have ice or frost. Ours are crazy tall!

 

None of the horses have stepped foot out of their stalls in about 24 hours. Here you can see Coco sneaking a peak of the rain, but definitely not going out into it!

 

The tall native grass got smushed by the ice.

 

Icy mailbox.

 

I hope everyone in North Texas stays safe in this weather! I read about some tornadoes in Johnson county. Ugh. Just what I need while I’m getting ready to head to a horse show!

Orange Kitty Brigade

We have had a bunch of new orange kitties join the farm family recently! I’m entertained that they are all some version of plain, orange tabbies.

First is Ouiser Boudreaux, or Ouisie. Ouisie was born at the farm and adopted by a friend of a friend as a kitten. Her adopter was a lovely family with 3 young boys. Well, it turns out that Ouiser isn’t crazy about being in a family with a bunch of young kids as well as a new kitten. They felt bad that she was having to live in a room alone and that she was pretty grumpy about life so asked if I would consider taking her back. I, of course, didn’t hesitate to reclaim the orange kitty.

She has to be a house kitty because she was declawed so she mostly just lives in my sewing room now. She’s never been around dogs so between the foster chihuahuas barking at her and my not wanting her to have free range access to the doggy door, she is very happy in her cat room. She has 2 nice windows where she can lay in the sun and an unlimited amount of fabric to make her bed.

Ouisie awaiting her belly scratches. After which she will bite my hand.

 

The other three yellow tabbies are “feral” cats from a co-worker. Said co-worker had a neighbor that moved away and left about 9 cats to fend for themselves. The cats seemed feral so co-worker and spouse trapped all the cats, got them spayed or neutered and found primarily barn homes for the cats. We got 3 of said feral cats, but as it turns out two of them are decidedly not feral! We kept them in feral cat cages (as advised by a barn cat non-profit group we got feral cats from a few years ago) to get them acclimated to our scent, their new home and life in general. After feeding and changing litter just a couple times two of the cats started coming forward for rubs and to check us out. Definitely not something that normal feral cats will do with humans!

After two weeks in their feral cage we let them out in a horse stall in our old barn where we have the most rodent activity. They stayed in their room for about 24 hours and then one of them wasn’t there. After a couple days they all left the stall, but we didn’t see them anywhere in the barn. We lost a chicken most likely to a coyote within the same timeframe so were worried about the kitties. Until we found them. In Boot City’s shop!

See. This is not how feral cats would behave. Both were rubbing on my leg seeking back scratches!

 

They seem to like to sleep on the shelves in the shop and come out periodically for attention. I think it is hilarious, Boot City is somewhat annoyed. There are sometimes rats in the shop so it isn’t all bad. Over the course of the past weekend they started going outside more and more. We aren’t letting the dogs out for a few days because they just chase and scare the cats. Hopefully the kitties will get their bearings about the place and learn to high tail it up a tree or another high place when the dogs are out. This is the trouble with sighthounds, if something runs they want to chase!

 

Murtagh, the kitten that lives in my tack room in the horse barn also found his way to the ferals. He first found them when they were in cages and spent a day or so just hanging out in their room. Boot City has photos documenting this interaction. After we let them out he again went to find them and they played in the shop together this weekend. We don’t let Murtagh out during the day when we aren’t home because he has so much white we worry he’d get taken by an owl (we lose a lot of cats to birds of prey), but we do let him out on days when we are home and he loves to wander around the buildings.

Pseudo feral kitty meets Murtagh, the tack room cat.

 

Hopefully the pseudo-ferals make good choices and are around for a long time, but we know how brutal barn cat life can be and hope for the best!