Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Kitten Needs a Home!

I suppose we've been lucky, in the eight years of living on this farm, not to have been frequented by many stray cats. The only one up until now was a friendly solid black male who now goes by the name of Cornelius and lives as a very content life as a lap warmer in the apartment of our tenant.
But last week, a baby appeared in our back woodpile. A tiny baby kitten, not much more than 6 or 7 weeks old, was almost trying to get our attention as my boarder and I cleaned the paddock. A few attempts to capture the kitten failed at first, but at last hunger won out, and my boarder was able to get the kitten close enough to grab. There has been no sign of other kittens, or the mother cat.
She has taken up temporary (I stress the word temporary) residence in our little bathroom, and 10 days later, she is still here.
She has started coming out of her frightened shell, and becoming friendly, and approachable. She's a lively little kitten, likes to play, and seems healthy except for what looks like a belly full of parasites, as all kittens are prone to have.
I know that I cannot keep this kitten--we are at our limit with two cats (one with health issues and a prescription diet), and an active dog that feels the need to herd the cats. This kitten would probably like best to be in a quiet home without other pets. She seems to like older children who will approach her gently and quietly.
So this is a plea to anyone who might be local to me that could offer this kitten a home. I'm beginning the process of finding a shelter that will take her, but the shelters are full, and I fear that going this route is not going to be possible.

Away from the subject of kittens, I thought I would post this week about my new adventures on the bus. A change in my work schedule has made it easier to work with the bus schedule, and so this week, I tried it for the first time. This is a huge step for me--I love my car--I like to have control over when I leave, where I stop on the way home, and how much stuff I can haul with me. But the gas prices are winning out, and so at around $60 a week to fill the gas tank, I have decided that this is one expense that can be controlled with a little sacrifice. (Especially when when my employer has a deal with the bus company that allows me to ride for free.) I was not prepared for the volume level of the crowd on the bus. I sort of expected that most people taking my bus route, which runs to the most rural part of the state, would be working people who would sit and listen to their ipods or read a book. Many of them do those things, and I instinctively chose a seat next to a young woman with cords running from her ears. However, the back of the bus was a cacophany of conversation and laughing, and I have a feeling that my morning commute will at least be somewhat entertaining, if not peaceful. The ride home was much quieter, and much emptier, due to the fact that the evening rush is staggered somewhat between several different buses.
I thought it would add so much time to my commute, but it only adds about fifteen minutes. I think I might actually get used to this. And my wallet certainly will.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Second Mural Panel and the Batty month of June.

I was asked to do a second mural panel by the creators of the Cadeau du Cheval mural, and despite a tight deadline, I have managed to get it completed. I saw a white horse head in the middle of the panel, and was able to work it into a bald-faced paint horse. The setting is a county fair horse show, the Friday night horse show classes under the lights.
There are many more images added to the mural mosaic, check out the live grid at

It's been a crazy summer here, so far. Every day has a chance of thunderstorms, so it's difficult to get any riding in, for fear of being caught out in a lighting storm. It's been a time to catch up with farm chores and simply enjoy the backyard. The month of June is the batty month for us. Our old timber framed barn has a healthy colony of brown bats that raise their young along the top rafter. The only trouble is, the baby bats don't seem to be able to cling to the rafter very easily, and many of them fall three stories, only to dehydrate and perish on the barn floor. We rescue as many as we can, carefully using a stick to pick them up by the back legs, which eagerly grip onto anything they can. We sometimes place the babies on a board and move them as high up in the barn as we can, climbing into the loft and leaving the board with the bats on a high beam, hoping they can crawl back up to the colony. I have no idea how many of these bats actually make it, but we just can't leave them on the floor of the barn to shrivel up. Having been through this routine for eight years now, I've gotten used to the bats, but I love to show visitors the brown lumps up along the rafter and explain what they are, and watch them back sloooowly out of the barn. Admittedly, it is rather disconcerting to reach for a piece of equipment and find a bat clinging to it. One day, when one of the geldings refused to eat his grain, I was worried, until I looked in his feed tub and found a bat in there with the grain. I love having them around, though. We have never had a big mosquito problem around here.