Saturday, October 12, 2019

missed by one

It may be cold outside, but we did not have the anticipated freeze. When I checked the thermometer at 6 am, I saw us hovering between 33 and 34F (around 1C). But I did not need to see the numbers -- the nasturtium was not (entirely) a floppy mess when I stepped out to feed the cats. It (mostly) survived for a few more days!

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But whether we reached that frosty number here on the farmette hardly matters. We've done most of the necessary work to get us winter-ready. All that remains out there is purely visual: I need to shape the spent perennials so that they look decent once winter sets in. Cleaning and clearing. A handful of tulip bulbs still left to bury. Raking and mowing. Clipping and pruning. There's no rush with any of it.

As for the cats -- well, Ed was right. They're all going in and out of the cat door as if they had been doing it from birth. Even Dark Pink, yesterday's holdout, has no trouble popping in and scooting out.

They are in a good place. This morning at feeding time (which resembles a whirling dervish of cat fur!)...

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... I sit with them and rub their heads, their back and I know they are content. Group hug follows (no, I'm not part of that!) and then they break into smaller configurations. Some go out, some stay in. The sheep shed is at long last their safe haven. (So long as neither of us makes an unexpected sound: today I turned on the warm water, which triggered a small "puff" sound as the water heater went on. The cats flew en masse out the cat door.)

(the beautiful Dark Blue)

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Breakfast is late. I don't know why. Call us lazy on this day!

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Though we actually do get serious about stocking up at the farmhouse and getting ready for the month ahead. It is our last completely quiet day for a long while -- perhaps not until after Thanksgiving will I wake up to the thought that nothing awaits me, no one is counting on me. I have plenty of young family in the week ahead, and then both young families the weekend after, and then, well, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves! One day at a time!

And so with the thought that we ought to do that which will get us ready for a more busy set of weeks, we go to Walmart and buy lots of cat food. A crazy supply of it, so much so that we are the subject of questions and speculation in the check out line. How many cats do you have, anyway? (Nine to feed, counting Stop Sign.) How long with that last you? (We're hoping until the end of November.) And so on.

At home, Ed and I talk about what to do with Stop Sign. We still do not know if she has hidden kittens somewhere. She comes to us twice a day, eats a copious amount, then disappears. I trailed her recently and saw that she crosses the road. She clearly has a destination.

Ed thinks it's a matter of time before she figures out that there is good stuff to be found in the sheep shed. That, in my opinion, would be unfortunate. It's no secret that I don't really like Stop Sign's manners. She is most comfortable with me (though I wont try to touch her), she is scared of everything else, including the cheepers. And she is positively hostile to her children. They say that spayed cats dont really get into cat fights (cats are territorial, but not confrontational), but in this case, her kids want to extend their cat love in her direction and she regards this with the distaste you save for your very worst relatives.

In my view, the best we can do is create an alternate environment for her that she will find acceptable. She is currently eating on the porch. Today, we set up an igloo like space for her, shielded from wind, with padding inside. Last winter she survived in the garage. We think this is better. If she brings any kittens, we can run a heat source to the igloo. Safe from predators, fairly protected.

Alright, enough cat talk! Our farmette has so many other things to offer!  Even as the days grow shorter and colder and the winds gust fiercely enough to make the birch trees shiver and the crab apples shake.

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Sushi for dinner. Just because.