the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is This Weird?

Honestly, I don't know.  You'd think drinking from a water dish would be a simple thing, with one way to do it.  But I have two cats who have developed their own style, using one paw as a spoon.  It's hard to imagine if you haven't seen it, so here's a video (below) of Ella practicing her elegant, prissy style of drinking.

Is this normal?  Does anyone know a cat who does this, or do I own two weird ones?



video

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

But Did It Have To Be Black?

About six weeks ago (as I wrote here ) one of our barn cats, Gray, disappeared.  I predicted that it wouldn't be long before another cat showed up to fill the vacancy.  It's a balance that seems to work for our little farm - two female barn cats, Sophie and Zoe, and one male.  The male cats have come and gone (or in TC's case, moved into the house and annointed himself king.)  It's possible the next barn cat has arrived.

This evening as I did barn chores I walked out of the stalls in time to see a cat scuttle away from Sophie's food dish to hide under the Murder Car.  A black cat.  There are two solid black cats that could possibly be in the barn - Zoe, who I'd just tucked in with the chickens for the night, and Nicky, a big indoor-outdoor cat who would probably run from me because he knows I don't want him in the barn.  Except he was currently in the house.  And this cat looked smaller, about the size of Penny, an exclusively indoor black cat.

Sounds like a lot of black cats, doesn't it?  We seem to specialize in them.  For instance, this was the scene in our family room this evening, where the cats bask in front of the fireplace:

That's Nicky at the left, keeping a suspicious eye on Harley.  Penny and Ella (sisters) are behind them.
All nice cats.  But come on, what are the odds that the next stray to show up here would be solid black? 

Updates as they happen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dirt Road Blues

I'd like to have a talk with my mother here.  The Big one - Mother Nature. 

Listen, Mom, Spring's nice and all, but there's a reason we don't want it in February.  This is Michigan; dirt roads should be frozen and covered with snow.  I'm resigned to skipping the car wash every April and May, since I can't get back home without turning into a rolling wall of mud.  But come on, how long do I have to have a brown truck?  Yes, I did buy the model with a tan stripe along the bottom, but it's not supposed to be THAT big.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Writing and Depression

 Another scientific list is out, and I'm in the Loser group - The Depressed People.  Not depressing - so far science hasn't been able to hang that one on me.  But I can't deny the depressed part.

In a list of the top 10 professions prone to depression, writers come in 5th, along with artists and entertainers.  Depression is also a leading cause of suicide, which is rather, you know, depressing.  But more on that later.

True to my profession, I am depressed, or so my doctor says.  (My symptoms were insomnia and an inability to concentrate, which makes sense when you only get 4 hours of sleep.)  And for the record, I know a TON of writers who take anti-depressants.  There's something to those statistics.

What I found surprising is that numbers 1-4 on the Depressed list are all helping professions:
1. nursing home/child care workers
2. food service
3. social workers
4. health care workers
For that matter, number 6 is teachers, which is also another selfless, helping profession.  So how in the heck did we self-absorbed writers get in this group?

And let's dispell a big myth - depression doesn't mean you're moping around thinking bleak thoughts.  It probably means you feel overwhelmed by tasks you used to do easily.  And they have pills for that!  So depressed people who seek help aren't actually depressed.  Got it?
 
So who are those depressed people committing suicide?  Experts can't seem to narrow it down to particular professions.   Here's what they can say - women attempt suicide three to four times more often than men.  That wouldn't look good for me, EXCEPT... men succeed at it four times as often. 

I'm a competitive person, so I don't generally like to be second best at anything.  But guys, you can have this one.  And take a pill, why don't ya?  Or read a romance novel!  Dynamic characters, falling in love, and a guaranteed happy ending - how could that not make you feel better?

Horse Update

Remi was better by Sunday and out of his stall Tuesday morning, after giving his hoof time to toughen up again.

Then slight bouts with colds for the humans, but otherwise no excitement.  (When a slight cold is classified as excitement, you know how truly dull we are.)  Dull is good - there are no distractions to keep me from writing.  Writing my novel, that is.  Poor neglected blog.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Tradition I Could Do Without

It wouldn't be February without our annual vet call for an abscess under the hoof.  Different horse each time, and two weeks earlier than last year, but the same problem for the third year in a row.  Dr. Ryker couldn't find the abscess, but he agreed with me that it's probably the reason Remi is hobbling on three legs and holding the fourth like a ballet dancer about to go en pointe.  It's the most common problem equine vets see.

Remi is confined to his stall with his foot wrapped up in the poultice that will hopefully soften the hoof and let the abscess drain.  We'll see how it's doing in three days.

By the way, Remi is a "barn" name, short for B.A. Reminiscence.  Sounds more like the CEO of some company to me.  You know, good ol' B.A., the president of Reminiscence Sprockets and Gears.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writing Research

I've had to Google various topics in the past couple weeks while writing my next book, among them, medical examiners and morgues, exotic insects, front end loaders, and how to catch bull snakes.

I love my job!