Saturday, November 25, 2017

farmette reflections on a late November Saturday

How beautiful it is when the sun is with us all day! I wake up to a cool morning, but I hardly notice. There is going to be plenty of sunshine. Our day will be made rich by it.

Even before breakfast, we're anxious to see if the kittie cats are still with us.

We haven't yet decided how to proceed. Perhaps they'll go away, though if we feed them, they probably wont. I go out and look all around the parked cars. Nothing.

They have done their disappearing act once more. I return to the kitchen and start in on cutting up breakfast fruits.

And then I see movement by the barn.

Sure enough, they're peering out at us. Waiting.

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One, another, a third. The two shy ones hang back, straining to see out of the groundhog's largest condominium.

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Ed brings out food in separate dishes. The bolder ones come forward right away. Within a few minutes, they do not mind Ed's presence. (Few cats ever mind Ed's presence.)

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The shy ones continue to hang back and the bolder ones capitalize on their fear: they devour most of the food. Ed mutters -- you take risks, you either get beaten or you push ahead. You can tell who the risk takers are in this pack.

(The kitties and the cheepers are very much aware of each others presence...)

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For now, we'll feed them. Of course we'll feed them. But it is true that there needs to be a long term plan. Ed is a regular contributor to our local chapter of friends of feral cats. He had, in the past, taken in two ferals that were easy to domesticate. They were wonderful cats, but I am firm about keeping cats out of the farmhouse going forward. Every pet brings change -- both the good and the bad. I am absolutely sure that I don't want to worry about cats, clean up after cats, and in general, care for -- which means worry about -- cats.

Of course, we've already embarked on the project of helping this brood survive. They were born awfully close to winter time. We estimate that they're not more than four weeks old. The mom is likely exhausted. (Ed saw her later enjoying a respite in the sunshine. For once, her kids weren't pestering her for more mice.)

If they become barn cats, yes, absolutely -- they'll need to be spayed. All this is before us. For now, we just enjoy their antics.

And the chickens get a little playful as well. Young ones rub off on you: their pleasure and giddiness becomes your own.

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We retreat to the farmhouse for breakfast.

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And then I have a small project that I want to take on this coming month: we have a family storage unit, where boxes of family treasures and junk had been put aside a dozen years ago, when we all moved in our own directions. The family house was sold, the daughters were off at the university, I was moving to a small apartment.

In the years that we have maintained (or more accurately paid a small monthly fee for) this small storage space, we have gone back no more than two or three times to see what's there. It's time we distributed the boxes and let go of the space.

On the one hand, no one even remembers what is there. On the other hand, once you step inside and start poking around, the memories are intense. Could you easily throw away artwork of your children who are now with their own families as you hold the sweet sketches in your hand? How about toys they played with? School work? And those VHS tapes of school performances -- no one ever watches them anymore, but still, the girls were adorable and so very young!

Still, I am the one who always pushes for sifting and sorting and getting rid of the irrelevant and today I drive to the storage space to see what we have to deal with now.

I can hardly touch any of the boxes or trunks. Everything is covered with thick layers of dust. It feels like the attic that has never seen a broom sweep through it.

It's going to be a tough project!

Late in the afternoon, Ed suggests a game of disc golf. I'm enthusiastic! I need to clear the dust from my lungs and the cobwebs from my head. The sun is already starting to set, but we don't mind. We throw the frisbees, chase them down when they go astray and, too, we watch the sandhill cranes above, doing their evening flight to their night resting place.

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Yes, they're with us still. They will be leaving within the next week, at most two weeks. But for now, their beauty is grand, especially in the golden light of the fading sun.

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Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close. The night air is crisp. The stars are out. It's a beautiful time to be at the farmette...