There is upheaval in the barns these days. Hay season is a busy time in the field and in the barns. Lots of noise when directing cattle out of the way, movement with equipment the truck, wagon or tractor, bales coming in or being shuffled around, noise from human helpers, and the list goes on. The barn cats are not used to all this excitement but are trying to make do by sneaking in for a meal at odd times instead of the whole pack eating at once.
There are days when I only see a cat or two and at other times I can count all seven of the adults as they gather around the feeding dish.
Today it was only three of the barn cats. The dark calico mama PegLeg, the black mama cat, and the big white tom, Rufus.
For some reason the trio make me think of Oreo cookies as I watch them chow down. With Rufus being nearly twice as big as the diminutive mamas, I think Double Stuff is appropriate. And now that you see it, you are probably craving a cookie yourself.
All the cleaning and prep work to get the barn ready for the loads of hay to be stacked in neat rows went to heck as the very first stack of hay shifted as it was plopped into place.
The placement of the stacks that are next to the manger need to be far enough away so the bigger cows cannot reach their long necks in to tug bits of hay out of the stack. There have been many occasions where beautiful stacks were toppled during the fall and winter when a cow could work enough spears of hay out of the stacked bales to weaken the stack and topple the pile. Who needs wooden blocks when there is a game of Cow Jenga going on in the barn? Continue reading
Mealtime in the barn with Quiet and her Valentine baby HeartThrob, and Stormy with her elfin calf Cloud, has definitely become a family thing.
The youngsters have figured out that I will lift hay high enough for them to reach when they push their heads through the stanchions while their mothers are eating.
Since I lock the mothers in while eating, the babies can eat undisturbed between them. HeartThrob has decided that he likes a nibble of molasses-laced grain with his hay. The younger Cloud has been sniffing at the grain but has yet to try a pellet.
Jackson the dog has the right idea, while I was busy running the splitter, he found a cozy spot to curl up and take a nap.
His eyes were open and he was watching me as I did my stealthy-ist version of sneaking up on him to take the picture.
He did not move from his comfy nest. It was a good idea since outside the barn the rain and wind were creating a very blustery day.
The mild week of weather has me watching the outside temperature closely. Every time we get above 50 degrees, I move the little tomato seedlings (now an inch tall) from inside the garage to outside in the fresh air. Right now, the move is as simple as setting one tray from inside the window sill to setting it on the picnic bench on the porch to drink in the sun while being protected from swirling breezes or showers. Continue reading
Two days of the thermometer hovering around 100 degrees, made for some very tough work conditions out in the hay field.
Everyone had a bottle of water handy at all times. Many breaks were needed throughout the heat. The tractors needed times to cool down because the heat coming off the drive shaft made it impossible to hold one’s feet on the clutch and brakes. Even the dogs struggled to stay in the field and made many trips down to the river to catch a cooling swim, they kept the moisture on their coats instead of shaking off and would seek shade anytime a piece of equipment was turned off. Continue reading
The barn is neutral territory for the dogs and cats on the farm. It has become the understanding that no dog shall chase a cat while on the premises and no cat shall tear any dog a new one when miffed.
The barn is cat home base. They live here and are fed here (these are the cats that also go along the brushy fencelines for vermin), but there is an air on dominance in the barn and the dogs respect the feline area, usually.
Today the truce is holding while the dance and sniff preliminaries are started. Jackson the dog is particularly checking out the new smells of nursing and kittens on both cats, and the cats are allowing indiscriminate nosing while purring and rubbing on the dog.
No combat activities today, all is calm in the barn.