The Thing We Do


Out in the barn, or in the fields, when putting hay in the outdoor mangers, or feeding along the ground, as the twine is removed from a hay bale it is tied in a knot. From a single bale to multiples of 6 or more, the twine is ALWAYS tied into a knot before placed in a bag or other receptacle.

I had cut open a bale of hay, tied the twine in a knot an dropped it over by the cats while I finished feeding the bale. It’s one of those things we do, mostly without even thinking about it. As simple as breathing until a visitor to the farm asks why, then a story emerges.

The visitor asked if I tied the knot so the cats would play with the string so I shared the following.

The cats only get to play with the string for a little while until I am done feeding and the reason is not for the cats at all. Once the hay is fed the string goes into the recycle bag, sealed away for safety.

Critters such as cows, especially the young ones up to a year old or more simply love to chew on things. They tongue the latches on gates, they lick and bite at fence posts and bars on the stanchions, they investigate their world by licking, nibbling and sometimes eating. A loose string becomes a game of twisting their tongue around until they can suck it in an chew on it. A single piece of twine off of a bale of hay is several feet long and a calf or young cow who happens to be chewing on one end will keep chewing it in like a super-long strand of spaghetti.

If the twine is then swallowed, it can unwind in the stomach where it could tangle in the digestive tract and strangle the critter from the inside.





The Magic Number

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

Puddle Fishing

The barn cats have taken up a new hobby, puddle fishing.

A black cat watching a puddle. It started with the black male cat Frack. I caught him a couple of weeks ago sitting on the mud patch watching a puddle.

He was so still, and before long I realized that he was stalking prey. He was watching the puddle as the wind was rippling the edges and made it appear as if there was a creature below the surface.

When a rain drop or two hit and disturbed the rather calm center of the puddle, he pounced believing that something (hopefully fish) caused the disturbance.

Now the other cats can be seen puddle fishing, or maybe it should be called puddle wishing. I’m sure that the memories of carp, salmon or trout are all busy bouncing around in their heads as they stare at the puddles during their new sporting activity.

A Place To Play

While I was stringing hoses out to the stock tanks, I heard a commotion coming from nut trees at the corner of the garden. The two adult brothers, Frick and Frack find some of the most awkward places to  sleep, play and hunt.

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Today these two found the most tippy-top branches to chase each other around. The branches were hardly strong enough to support one feline and would bend and sway. With both cats up there, the whole tree was shaking.

The scene was quite amusing. It also reminded me that soon it will be time to start trimming the fruit trees. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy cat antics.

Seeing Double

Two black cats on a wooden fence.On my way out the show barn I noticed both Frick the large black cat and one of the 6 month old kittens hanging out on the corral fence.

Seems that the little kitten has adopted Uncle Frick and the two climb, drink water from the stock tank, and laze about together much of the time.

Who’s Spooked Now?

The barn cats have been on edge, all prickly with fright and rather skittery. Something not welcome has been visiting their home and they are not happy about it.

This is the nearly adult kitten, Frick. He had found a safe hole in the hay wall. His eyes were wide and he was not coming out until I had the food served and all the other cats were joining in the feast.

At first I thought that it was a raccoon coming in to steal cat food. I may have misjudged the size of the varmint that has been thieving. I had been covering the food dish at night to discourage the raiding, this has been rather traumatic for the cats since they have been used to 24 hour snacking, but I wanted to limit access by the marauder.

I had used a large feed tub to cover the cats dish. But the cats were able to scoot everything around until they could dislodge the tub and scatter the cat food everywhere. Then I tried parking the garden cart on top of the upside-down grain tub to add weight, something was able to roll the cart off, lift the tub and lick the cat pan clean. Raccoons are either deploying troops in groups or we have a bigger critter to be on the lookout for.

Thieves In The Night

We had been savoring the last few apples still hanging on the trees. The last Rome apple dropped yesterday. The Honey Crisp tree has barely a bucket full still hanging, and the frosts have taken away the crispness yet they are still sweet and juicy. Red delicious apples finished falling off the tree a couple of days ago, the Jonathan apples are also done. The yellow delicious are still crisp and flavorful with only a handful of small sized apples left.

The raccoons have been raiding the last of the apple crop, they are sneaking in at night under the cover of darkness. In the morning we had been finding chewed cores littering the ground beneath the trees. With the apples dwindling, I believe the pesky varmints are trying to move to the barn to steal the cat food that is left over from the evening meal. Continue reading