the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kittens Aren't The Only Reason

I've been MIA with several animal issues, plus trying to finish my book.  Still in the process with both, but here's an update.

I neuter and spay all my dogs and cats.  I don't say that to get a patronizing round of applause, but to explain why it took me more than three years to spay Abby.  I adopted her and her brother, Simon, when they were about 4 months old, rescues who were found living under a deck, trying to survive on birdseed.  Both were frightened of people and terrified if touched.  I worked with them on that.  Simon got over it; Abby didn't.  After three years, we could touch her, but attempting to pick her up resulted in a terrified dive for cover. 

So spaying was delayed.  No big deal, right?  Everyone else was neutered.  Uh, wrong.  This is why you want to spay your cat:  (If you can't see the picture, press play anyway.  It works.)

Abby is complaining to Penny that none of the 4 male cats in the house is man enough to see what a hot babe she is.  Penny just wants her to go away so she can play with her leaf.  She will, but she won't shut up.  She'll cry like this constantly for a week.  Let me repeat that.  Constantly.  Then she might be back to normal for 6 months.  Or maybe for a week.  You never know.

 It gets old after 3 minutes.  After 3 days you want to crawl out of your skin.  After three years you say the hell with her terror level, bait a cage with catnip, and let her whirl, cry, and climb the walls until you can hand her over to the vet. 

This is Abby now.  She's not happy.  The rest of us are.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Horse Ripples?

I'm hoping some horse person can tell me what this is.  Or even if they have no idea what it is but have seen it before.

Remi has been developing rippled areas on his skin.  They aren't hard or callused feeling, and don't seem to bother him.  After a couple weeks skin will begin to pull away like a scab.  He has four areas like this.

The lower area here has already lost a section of skin in the center of the rippled patch.  To the right (sorry about the glare) is a patch that looks wet or rough - that's how they start.

This is low on his side - an older patch and a new one beginning below it where some skin is already off, even though it doesn't show rippels yet.

If it matters, Remi is a 15-year-old gelding.

I have Googled this and couldn't find anything about rippled areas of skin.  I can not accept that Google has failed me - I must be doing something wrong.  If anyone has better luck, or has seen this before, please let me know!  If the comments won't work for you here, send an email to  Thanks!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mowing The Lawn - Large Scale

It's 90 degrees.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Humid enough that walking from the house to the barn will make you break a sweat.  A swimming pool sounds great.  So what so farmers do?  Cut and bale loads of dry, itchy hay, then stack them in airless barns where the chaff fills the air, your nose, and your bronchial passages.  Then let the hay grow for a few weeks and do it again.  All for low pay, no health plan, no pension, and no such thing as an 8-hour day.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Jets In Fur

OMG, she didn't really put a picture of a steaming pile of poop on her blog, did she?  Of course not!  That's day old poop.  How crude do you think I am?

I knew raccoons had been in my barn overnight because I saw all the dirt and grass they left in the cats' water dish.  Raccoons have a reputation for being clean; that's only because they dirty up every body of water they pass with their filthy, curious little paws.  I don't sound prejudiced toward raccoons, do I?  Just because they slaughter my chickens, poop all over my hay and rafters, and break into the horse and chicken feed.

One raccoon I can handle.  (Although my last Aricauna chicken couldn't.)  But there had to have been more, many more.  Here's your story problem for today - how many raccoons does it take to leave three random piles of poop in a 150 foot span between my house and barn?  I doubt they all got the urge to go at the same time.  So I'm thinking it takes a gang.  A knife-toting, swaggering gang.  Singing and dancing. 

"When you're a 'coon, you're a 'coon all the way, From your first Aricauna to your last dying day . . ."

Nope, not fond of raccoons.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Silver Sparks Studies Abroad

. . . and enjoys the beach and view of Vulcan Mederas in Nicaragua while the students work on cultural and language studies.  Life is good.