Wednesday, September 25, 2019


Are you a parent of many kids? Like, maybe nine? Is there a day where no one presents a problem? Without a worry requiring guidance or intervention?

I thought having two offspring was a good number. As they grew to be more independent, I worried only 65% of my waking hours. Now, of course, I have the equivalent of five: one tends to worry about grandkids, though not in the same fashion. Feeding them, making sure they sleep enough and do their homework is not on my worry agenda.

You cannot compare caring for feral cats to raising children (Ed would ask -- why not?), and yet, it holds true with animals as well -- the more you have, the greater the number of problems.

Some are small. This morning, as I put out food for what should be nine kitties, I noticed that Little Gray had a bunch of prickly seeds in his coat. I tried discreetly to pull some out, but his coat is thick so it's a tricky business.

More troubling was the fact that Yo-Yo, our second little one, did not show up for the morning feeding.

Oh, there have been times when all have dispersed for one reason or another. But they stick together. Or at least in groups and formations. The little guys never go away without Dance, their mom.

I searched all the usual places: old orchard, flower beds, garage. Nothing. By late in the morning, I had to conclude that she is gone. Was it a predator? One day this winter, Dance's brother disappeared overnight. He surely was the victim of some animal raid. Did we just lose Yo-Yo?

I linger until the cheepers come out. Funny how all the cats are comfortable with even the big rooster...

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Well, until he bellows loudly in their ear! Even then, they are curious, they come up from behind to see what's cookin'...

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It's a pretty day once again. We were up very, very early -- before dawn in fact -- sharing stories and anecdotes, and so the morning then moved slowly, on wheels coated with molasses. This is what happens when you don't get enough sleep, several days in a row! But, a good, leisurely breakfast out on the porch...

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... puts some oomph into our step once more. We opt today to work rather than play: all those seeds and burrs in Little Gray's coat indicate that there is a lot of junk growing in the old orchard (where they once in while hang out). Burdock seeds and other stick-tight seeds -- we find many, many clumps and they all have to come out.

You must dress properly for this: keep your arms and legs bare, take out your wellies or plastic shoes, tie your hair back. Even so, inevitably you'll be picking out noxious seeds from tricky places on your body.

Still, we clear the old orchard and while we're at it, we dive into the raspberry patch and pull out the offensive plants with burrs, and, too, bunches of stinging nettle from there as well. It's stuff you want to keep out of your compost pile and so we stamp it down in the wheel barrow and set the whole thing on fire.

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And then we play with Little Gray because, well, it's sad to think his little sister is gone.

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(Photos from an autumnal farmette...)

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The afternoon belongs to Snowdrop. I stay with her in school for a few minutes, because she is busy drawing letters in the sand...

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We half-play outside. Just for a little while. I think we're possibly taking this stretch of good weather for granted.

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Or maybe we're just hungry for a good long read of Ramona books. The protagonist's father just lost his job. There's a lot to explain and think about in that subplot.

In the evening, Ed is biking and I'm cooking up a pot of chili. I hear him pull in just as the big pot is ready to come off the stove top.

Hey, Gorgeous! -- he calls out. Yo-Yo is back!

Incredible. She'd been gone the whole day and at some point, Dance disappeared too, presumably to look for her little one. Yo-Yo must have gotten lost. Dance lead her back home.

As for Stop Sign -- yes, she came around again, hungry as hell. She has hairs missing around puffy eyes. We don't know why. She also has droopy teats. She really must be nursing kittens. Will we ever see them? History would tell us that sooner or later she'll bring them here.

For now, there are nine. And a half. And the sun continues to shine down on farmette lands. And we are grateful for that.