Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Charlie & Hank

No, this isn't Charlie or Hank. This is MooMoo. I know, strange name for a cat. She reminded me of a Holstein cow with her black & white coat. When she was just a kitten I started calling her our "MooMoo kitty."

MooMoo has been the sole cat figure on our little farm for a number of years. She spends most of her days in the barn or in the woodshed doing what cats do best; sleeping and eating. I wish she would step up a bit in the rodent control department. But I think she's a bit on the lazy side.

Our barn was being overrun with mice! Some of the dogs sleep out there in their crates and oftentimes they wouldn't finish their food. Prime mouse snacks. And they were helping themselves! Many times I would walk into the barn and come face to face with another little furry creature! And my hay! We rearranged some bales one day and I thought deer had eaten big chunks off the edges, but no! It was the mice! This had to stop!

So I went looking for backup for MooMoo. A little reinforcement.

I checked with several shelters and found one in our local town. They have a feral cat program; catch, neuter and release. Some of the cats are able to be tamed a bit and these are adopted out to homes. But some cats are just too wild. That would be Charlie. And unfortunately, the shelter workers were having a hard time working to tame the other cats because of him. He wasn't about to let anyone near him or the others. Charlie needed a barn home. And I needed a barn cat.

Hank was another feral boy. Not near a distrusting as Charlie, but still wild. So both boys came home with me.

For now, they are still in confinement. They need to realize this is home base and make the adjustment. Thankfully, we have a covered dog kennel in the barn that works perfect for this situation. They have boxes to hide in, a litter box, and food and water. After they've been here about a month we'll let them have some freedom and hope they stick around.

"Oh, little mice, there's some nice cat food in that bowl. Just help yourself." ;)

Isn't he pretty? I wish I could pet him:)

And there's Charlie glaring at me from the back of the box.
Charlie doesn't like when you put your hand to close to him. I know this from personal experience.

Happy hunting boys! MooMoo sure needs you. And so do I!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Duane's "sheep"

A while back Duane came home from work one day and asked, "Do you want a sheep?" I replied with a confused, "What?"

You have to understand Duane is not an animal person. Yes, he tolerates my menagerie. But if it was up to him, we'd probably only have one horse, one dog and a few chickens. (And that's not because HE wanted them.) So you can see my confusion by his question. Duane does not initiate bringing more animals home. That's my job. And if I had come home and asked if we could get some sheep, goats,...... (fill in the blank) he would have vetoed that idea immediately. But since it was "his" idea, we're going to run with it!;)

So I queried him more about his strange question. It seems a friend at work raises sheep; Barbados sheep. This is a breed which have hair instead of wool, hence no need for shearing.  And apparently, they eat noxious weeds and brush. We have both and would like to be rid of them. And this guy was willing to give us a couple babies.  Duane thought it would be a good idea to help get rid of the brush on our property.
We talked further about it that day and the next and then the subject was shelved for a while. At least between us.

Of course, I am always ready and willing to add another animal to the farm. But I had always thought it would be fun to have a couple goats, not sheep. So I started doing a bit of research on both. And came to the conclusion that goats would probably eat more of a variety of things and be a whole lot more personable. (There are actually businesses  where a person can rent a herd of goats to clear their land!)

We talked more about the subject later and I shared my interest and information about goats.

Then one day, I was browsing craigslist (that site is going to cause my demise;) and came across an ad that read:


Nigerian Dwarf goats is the breed I was most interested in and these guys were close by and cheap!
I called the ad, made an appointment and went by later that day. I assured the people they "wouldn't be eaten" as we were vegetarians:) Then called Duane and left him a message to call me when he got off work. If it was up to me, I would snagged them when I first went to see them, but I was trying to be good;)

I got the "o.k." and went back to get the boys.

It's been a couple weeks since we got them. For now they are housed with the chickens. (Poor girls were a bit traumatized when I put the goats in with them. I didn't think we'd get any eggs for a week!) But they've all settled in together nicely and my chicken pen is being cleared of brush!

And you just can't beat those adorable faces and the little goat sounds that greet your ear whenever you walk outside!
"Heartly & Thumper"

Oh, and Duane calls them "his" goats;)