Barn Kitties, Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

A Rundown of December and January

So, my last post happened before the holidays and my house has been a whirlwind of absolute chaos since then. I am currently purging the house and organizing everything, but before I get into that, I will get you all caught up on the whirlwind that was December and the beginning of January.

We had a lovely holiday with just the three of us, the kids were all supposed to come home this year, but life happens and they were all unable to come home. I would have enjoyed having everyone here together and actually being able to get a recent family picture, but I completely understand that life is harder when you are a young adult and usually living paycheck to paycheck. The kids will all be visiting this year, but it will be at different times. I did get to see my daughter in law and grandson this month so, that was amazing and stressful at the same time.

I guess I will start with the pictures I took in December and January as a little bit of brightness to this post. Fizzgig and Gizmo thoroughly enjoyed the tree.

They didn’t climb it this year, but they loved hiding out under it and sleeping on the tree skirt. Fizzgig loved the lights when I turned them to twinkle instead of constantly staying lit. He would lie under the tree and just watch them twinkling. He was definitely being quite photogenic.

We also saw snow at the beginning of January and some ice as well.

It began snowing and I honestly didn’t expect much because it didn’t look like it was going to be much more than what is on the ground in this picture. Boy was I wrong. We saw almost a foot of snow by morning.

It was absolutely beautiful and the perfect snow for snowmen and snowballs, but it was brutal cold and while we invited the neighbor’s little ones, and the other children who were visiting her, to go sledding, we didn’t play in it aside from helping the little ones go faster down the hills on the back of the property. (Our neighbor’s property is completely flat aside from the edge of her fenced backyard which sloped towards the fence dividing our property.)

The barn kitties stayed inside of the dairy building aside from a few short trips around the front of the property. I am guessing they went to see if any small critters were out and about for a quick warm meal. I warmed their wet foot and placed their wet food and water dishes on waterproof heating mats. They also have special beds in the dairy building rafters that hold warmth when they lie on them so, they are kind of like a heating pat that warms them using their body heat. They were all being used, but I couldn’t get pictures because of how the beds are set up in the rafters. I have pieces of plywood across the beams to create an attic of sorts so they can be up high and not be in danger if a predator manages to get into the building somehow. Additionally, they are out of my reach unless I climb on stuff so, they feel safer if I come into the building and don’t have to bolt out of there. The pawprint pictures are all around the dairy building. The last one is at their entrance and there were at least seven cats inside the building when I went to feed them. I am glad they were safe, warm, and had free access to plenty of food (both kibble and wet food), water, and warm beds. They do such a good job keeping the mice and snake populations in check. I just wish they would let me pet them.

These pictures are before the second round of snowfall. We had approximately six inches of snow at this point and about a 1/4 of an inch of ice formed that night on top of the snow. The pawprint photos are the only ones I got of all of the snow. We shoveled the snow away from the door and entrances to the dairy building for the barn kitties so, there wasn’t as much snow around the door thankfully. We didn’t want them trapped from snow.

I know this is a terrible photo. It was taken from inside the house the day after the snowstorm. The barn kitties walked through the raised bed outside the window. It was in the 40’s F the following day and the snow was gone by the third day after the snowstorm. I am hopeful that we get one more good snow before spring. I will get better pictures of it snows again. I wasn’t feeling well and the last thing I wanted was to be cold and wet as well as feeling icky.

Fizzgig really liked the table linens and took quite a few naps on the runner. He had just woken up from one when I snapped this picture.

At the end of December or very beginning of January, we got some new neighbors. I am not sure when they arrived, but they sure are adorable.

I had taken Miss Mia to check the fence line and once I was done doing my checks, I took her back to the house and spent a bit of time greeting these sweet babies. They were fascinated with Miss Mia and kept sniffing me because I smelled like her. I can’t wait to get a few calves of my own, but we still have a ways to go before that happens. The previous owners had 100 head of cattle on 10 acres. This is insane because the suggested number is one cow per acre. We are leaving the property alone. We mow the yard, but have only really mowed the property once or twice a year because we wanted it to grow back. It was pretty bare when we bought the property and it finally has a good layer of grass. We boarded horses so they could give the soil a bit of fertilizer without destroying everything like cattle tend to do when they are grass-fed. It’s getting there, maybe in a year or two I can finally get some calves.

Gizmo has been regularly stealing Miss Mia’s bed from her. Miss Mia is not a young puppy. she has arthritis and she’s getting old. Gizmo has no shame. Miss Mia will NOT throw Gizmo out of her bed because she thinks the cats are her puppies. Fizzgig and Gizmo were bottle babies (bottle fed and very tiny at 2 weeks and 4 weeks old) and Miss Mia loved them, groomed them, and let them cuddle with her anytime they wanted. She would rather sleep on the floor than kick her “puppy” out of her bed. We have placed another bed right next to her bed so, she now has another bed to sleep in if Gizmo steals her bed.

Now for the pictures of my grandson’s visit.

He is 15 months old and he’s huge for his age. His momma had no idea what to feed him for snack time since I was in the shower he got a little bit of everything. He enjoyed it thoroughly.

Lunch was cooked for him. (He had a spoon when I gave him his food. It was immediately flung across the kitchen and he chose to eat with his hands.) Lunch was ham cubes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and noodles in a cheesy bechamel sauce. He ate three servings and I had to teach his mother how to make it because he tends to play with his food more than he eats it and he destroyed this meal. He did wear some of it, especially in his hair. 😂

He fell in love with my Boston Red Sox blanket and slept with it for every nap.

Nonno stopped on the way home from the airport to buy his grandson some Batman clothes because he was wearing Captain America clothes and that was unacceptable. We chose to be called Nonna and Nonno because hubby and I are both from Italian backgrounds and these are the Italian versions of Grandma and Grandpa. I am 39, I am not old enough to be called Grandma. The wonderful thing about choosing to be called by these names is that he can say them.

He was so much easier to take pictures of when he was eating. He had French toast and sausage for breakfast and wanted cheese too. (I made omelets and French toast for everyone else)

He was laughing so hard the picture was blurry. He was laughing because his momma had hiccups.

He fell asleep holding onto her after giving her a serious leg workout.

My legs hurt just watching. He weighed 25.6 pounds (He loved the scale and stepped on it multiple times a day.)

He loves taking pictures.

He used me as a bed quite often. He sleeps like his dad.

Deconstructed taco salads were a hit too. We tried a plastic spoon because he didn’t like the toddler spoons or the baby spoons I had. He still ate mainly with his hands, but he tried really hard to eat with his spoon. I told him if he ate all of his food, I would give him an amazing dessert.

Needless to say, chocolate cake was a hit. (It was a TastyKake chocolate bell) I also gave him a bath. I wasn’t mean and I cleaned him up instead of just handing him back to momma and making her clean him up.

I also made him tiny pizza with tiny pepperoni when we had pizza and calzones for dinner. He had never had his own pizza before. He did exactly what his dad does, he picked off the pepperoni and ate those first then, he ate each slice.

It was definitely messy. (He had refused to drink from any sippy cups so, I bought some and got him drinking out of them. He still has his bottle, but this is a good start towards toddlerhood.)

I discovered that he loves snapchat so, these next few pictures are all snapchat filters. Some are a bit ridiculous, but those of you who haven’t managed to add me on other platforms will actually see my face.

We enjoyed being silly.

I am glad he came to visit. I said stressful earlier when describing his visit. He and his momma were both sick with the flu for their entire visit. Also, my house is NOT childproof. We bought a baby gate on the way home from the airport because we have stairs and stairs are dangerous for little ones. He also doesn’t sleep through the night so, I woke every time he woke, and he woke every 2 hours. Makes me glad my youngest is 18.

Fizzgig does NOT like tiny humans. He had a bad experience with our friend’s 5 yr old so he hisses, growls, and runs away from tiny humans. He does enjoy their comfy accessories though. He really liked camping out in the stroller.

So, that was a fairly quick rundown of December and January. I am purging and organizing the house because I realized just how much clutter we have after having a toddler locating chokable items and having to take them away and put them out of reach. While I will not be childproofing unless a grandchild is living with us, I do need to reduce clutter and get the house more organized. I realized I have a bunch of junk that needs to go. Maybe I will take some before and after pictures while I am purging the house. I am really glad we have a dumpster and not just a trashcan. I can throw out so much stuff without having to wait a week for the rest.

Until next time….

Barn Kitties

Kitten Spotting Update # 2

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I will do another post to explain, but I have managed to hold the kittens from Mrs. Weasley’s surprise litter.

This sweet little one was perfectly okay with being scooped up. I had to completely unseal her eyes yesterday and I guess she remembered that I helped her see again. They all have gooey eyes, which are being treated with an antibiotic ointment, which I have to hold them to apply. One of the three ginger babies hisses and growls at me, but the other three kittens don’t seem to mind being held.

This is the kitten who hisses and growls at me. I gave him some treats to try to calm him down. It didn’t work. He just growled and hissed. I managed to avoid being scratched or bit because I wore gloves to handle him. His eyes got treated too.

I have also dewormed them and Mrs. Weasley got dewormed as well because I mixed it with their wet food. I checked the kittens and didn’t find a single flea on them. They are very clean considering they live in an old dairy building, and the floor has a layer of sand on it from the wind blowing it inside. Mrs. Weasley has taken very good care of them.

I had to bring the Tortie inside because I had to clean her eyes. Both eyes were sealed shut. She was shaking until she realized that she could see again.

She curled up in my lap and went to sleep after I applied the eye ointment.

I snagged one more pic of her clean eyes (yes, I know I need to redo my nails.) She is so fluffy. I would bathe her, but Mrs. Weasley growls at me, from her hiding spot behind the mattress in the dairy building, every time I go into the dairy building.

I took her back to her home and she latched onto my shirt with her tiny claws. I held her for about 10 more minutes before carefully unhooking her claws from my shirt to set her down near the entrance to their hiding spot. She meowed a few times before running behind the mattress.

I was rather shocked to see Pooka and Little Momma this evening. I set a large amount of dry food on the front porch because Little Momma was napping there when I went to get the mail this morning. Fizzgig was chirping up a storm at the front door, which has a large glass panel. He was standing on his hind legs looking out the front door at Little Momma and Pooka eating the dry food I left on the front porch.

As I am uncertain where they are sleeping, I will continue to feed them on the front porch in addition to the massive amounts of food I leave in the dairy building. I will also be leaving more sources of water because it has not rained since the last time I posted about rain, which was about 2 months ago. We desperately need rain. I am going through bout 40 lbs of dry food every week or so with the kittens and the permanent barn kitties. So, I am glad to know everyone is still eating. I have 5 water sources, which I clean and fill each morning. I think 5 more will suffice. Until next time…

Barn Kitties, Journal Style Posts

Kitten Spotting Update

I have been very careful not to disturb Mrs. Weasley and her little family. However, the other day, one of the kids left the door open to the old dairy building while rummaging through there looking for something to shoot for target practice. I was quickly informed that the kittens were outside without Mrs. Weasley.

I immediately went to ensure that all of the babies were back inside the building safe and sound. Once they were back inside the building, I took some pictures.

There are 3 Ginger babies and one Tortie baby.

They are so small, but so fluffy.

This baby kept running back outside before I could close the door. As you can see, he or she was not happy that I wouldn’t allow for outdoor playtime.

I convinced the Tortie that this was a perfect hiding spot and play area.

After a few moments, they finally went back into their safe little hiding spot that Mrs. Weasley had found for them. They are almost big enough for their new home and Mrs. Weasley will be going with them to this new home because I decided they would go as a family or not at all. I wanted to be certain they would be okay as barn kitties in their new home. Until next time…

Barn Kitties, Journal Style Posts

Meet the New Members of the Homestead Family

This evening, I went to the dairy building to feed the barn kitties and to fill their water bowls. I have multiple water bowls around the property to ensure all of the wildlife and the barn kitties have access to water since we are dealing with drought conditions, even though it has rained recently. I was filling the dry food pan, which is a disposable aluminum roasting pan and I heard movement behind me so, I went to the area of the building where I heard movement. Suddenly I hear hissing and growls. I figured the possum was in the building and shined my flashlight on my phone behind the old doors leaning against the wall. This is what I saw:

I found a litter of kittens, but they do not belong to Little Momma. Apparently, Weasley, my ginger barn kitty, is a female and shall now be known as Ginny Weasley. She was hiding behind an old mattress, which is leaning against the wall next to the old doors. She continued to hiss and growl until she heard that familiar sound of a cat food can opening. I opened three cans and gently nudged one into her hiding spot with a broom handle. I proceeded to take some more pictures. Forgive the terrible quality, it was dark outside, I left the light off inside the dairy building, and took these by holding my phone over the area while snapping pictures quickly. I will get some better pictures during the day and as they get bigger.

They are so tiny. Based on their ears being completely opened, eyes opened, and how wobbly they are, I am guessing they are approximately three weeks old.

Look at that tiny paw.

I definitely need to put a sturdier box in this space. I had placed a cardboard box behind the doors, with the towels that Little Momma had her last litter nested in, inside the box. I wanted the box to smell familiar so they would use it to hide or sleep in during cold or rainy nights. I have a plastic tote, with two exits cut into the sides, ready to replace the cardboard box once the kittens get a bit bigger.

This little baby looks to be a black kitty with white tabby pattern. This is a very unique coloring. I am hopeful this baby will come out next time, so I can get a better picture.

I was only able to count four babies. Two ginger, one black, and the black and white tabby looking baby. Looking at this photo, I am seeing another tabby. This one is not black so, that makes five baby kittens as of right now.

Those paws are almost like a brindle pattern.

This picture was one that didn’t show much. You can see the outline of a kitten’s head, but I am including it to show just how protected this box is and why I placed it in this spot. On the left side of the picture, you will see the edges of the old doors. To the right, the corner of the building is seen, with a door frame against the wall. This is about a 2.5 ft wide space. That box is not very big. It should only fit one adult cat and it would be a cozy fit for that cat. Wedged between the leaning doors and the wall is an old bike, which is missing a front wheel. This allows the cats to get in, and out, but prevents any animal larger than a cat from getting inside that space. There is about a foot of space between the leaning doors and the wooden work table, which holds my toolbox and in that foot of space, there is a pallet standing on its side. The pallet is home to rakes, shovels, a broom, and other gardening implements. So, no animal or human can get to that space without moving everything to get back there. There is a loveseat against the doors, a mattress behind the work table, and fencing and random buckets and flowerpots under the table. Ginny Weasley chose a well protected spot for her babies.

I have placed plywood against the table to add some more protection. I also added food and water dishes under the table. Now, that I know she is there with a litter, she will have her own food placed in her area and the food and water under the table. This will allow her to avoid hunting if she chooses. She has plenty of food and water. I made sure she had enough for a few days just to keep her from leaving her babies for long periods of time.

If I do find her away from her babies and out hunting, I will put gloves on, swap out the cardboard box with a plastic one, and give her a bit more space to lie down to nurse her kittens.

I am still searching for Little Momma’s litter. I am convinced they are in the abandoned burrow underneath the dairy building. The Original Little Momma hid her litter there and the only reason I knew where they were was because I would see her sliding between the fence panel and the dairy building to get into the burrow tunnel. I also saw her kittens behind the fence panel poking their heads out of the tunnel to take a peek at me when I peeked in with a flashlight.

I know anyone reading this is wondering what is going to happen with this unexpected litter. Well, I have fabulous news. The entire litter has been spoken for to include Ginny Weasley. The owners of the horses we were boarding purchased 20 acres and they had asked about one or two of Little Momma’s litter, but I was asked for the entire litter when they heard that I had found a litter, but it wasn’t from Little Momma. They will be humanely trapped, one by one if necessary, and immediately taken to the vet for vaccinations. They will each be micro-chipped, spayed or neutered, and then brought to their new barn home once they have healed enough for release.

They originally wanted one or two barn kitties to help keep the mouse and snake population under control, but upon hearing I had an entire unexpected litter, they asked for the whole family. Knowing how well their horses are cared for, I have zero hesitation handing this little feral family to them once they are old enough. They have also picked up strays and taken them home during the drive from where they were living to our home. They currently have four cats under a year old that have been retrieved from the middle of the road, the side of the road, and one jumped into their trailer while they were exercising the horses at the rodeo grounds. This feral little family will be fed and kept out of the elements by being housed in the barn.

I will miss their cute little faces once they go to their new home, but for now, they are very loved new members of our little homestead. Once Little Momma finally brings out her new litter, they will be vetted, ears will be notched, they will be spayed and neutered, and released back onto the property to live their lives as barn kitties who are well fed and have their own building to call home. Until next time….

Barn Kitties, Journal Style Posts

Meet the Barn Kitties

This building was once used as a milk house for Daubert’s Dairy, which closed its doors sometime during the late 1920s. The Daubert family built the home and the milk house in 1918. There was also a very large barn, another small building, and our back porch was the wheel house, which was turned into a garage in the early 1970s and then, into a covered porch in the 1980s. This small building is home to my barn kitties. I never intended to have barn kitties, but some idiot, threw a very pregnant cat onto our property from the passenger side of their pickup truck. That cat was dubbed Little Momma, But her daughter is who I am referring to when I talk about Little Momma. This first litter of kittens included little Momma and Weasley. There were four other kittens in the litter, all of whom left to move next door, joining the 100+ feral colony, which patrols the High School’s Agricultural Farm (AG farm).

The AG farm re-homes cats from their colony as barn cats to local farmers. People around here dump animals often, which is absolutely terrible, but we feed any stray animal that comes onto our property. If it’s a dog, we contact the small rescue and the woman who runs it comes and gets the dog, rehabilitates it and then, adopts it out during an adoption event.

I have had two litters born on the property, both to the original Little Momma. The second litter included Pooka and Sebastian and three other kittens. Sadly one was killed by an animal, I am assuming it was a coyote based on the aftermath. The other two, I see on occasion, but I don’t know where they are living because I only see them once every month or so. I am guessing they live in the ravine behind our house because each time I see them, they are heading from that direction or towards that direction.

The Original Little Momma had a daughter, who we call Little Momma because she looks so much like her momma, recently had a litter of kittens, but I have not been able to find them yet. She hid them very well. I can’t wait to see the new babies. I love watching a mother cat teaching her kittens to hunt grasshoppers, which direction means certain death (the highway with semi trucks passing by regularly), and the exact spot where Miss Mia’s lead stops. The cats tend to stay just outside Miss Mia’s reach and we always have her on a lead when she goes outside because she thinks rabbits are toys and will bolt after one. I think this happens because she is a Husky and wolf mix and rabbits trigger the predator in her genes. She doesn’t mess with our indoor cats and only barks at the barn kitties.

I am now going to introduce you to our barn kitties.

This is Pooka, he likes to perch on top of the old doors leaning against the wall. In this picture, he’s actually sitting on an old door frame.

This little tuxedo baby is Sebastian. He is very timid and this is the only picture I have been able to get of him. (I have no idea if he is male or female, I have no idea about any of the barn kitties’ gender aside from the original Little Momma and her daughter.)

This is the only picture I have been able of this ginger baby. I have dubbed him Weasley. If he is a he, his name is Ron Weasley, but if he is a she, her name is Ginny.

This is Little Momma. She is tiny. She never grew much larger than this. She was playing in the stack of pallets and I was lucky enough to snag this picture of her. Her mother looked exactly like her except her face pattern was different. (See next picture)

This is the original Little Momma (Momma to all of the barn kitties.) She comes around every once in a while, but she lives at the AG farm next door. She waited until her kittens were weaned and promptly left with two of them, while leaving the others here. She was someone’s pet because she allowed me to pet her and her babies.

Now, I feed all of these kitties inside of the dairy building. During the winter, I cover the barn style screened windows with contractor bags stapled over the window. The building has two doors. One is sealed up and the other has a hole at the bottom of the door just big enough for a cat to squeeze through. (Or a possum) During the winter, I feed them both wet and dry food, while making sure they have access to water instead of bowls filled with ice. Nothing larger than a cat can get into this building because I keep the door closed. I have seen plenty of fox and coyote tracks outside of the building, but they cannot get inside.

During the summer, I keep multiple water bowls all over the building. I even have one in the rafters because that’s Pooka’s favorite spot.

He likes to sit up there meowing at me until I finish filling the food and water dishes and finally leave so he can come down to eat.

The dairy building has a light with a pull cord inside the building, but there are no outlets. As you can see, it has a metal roof and the building itself is in pretty rough shape. Birds have also built nests directly into the old cinder block walls. This has not caused any major damage to the building, these holes can easily be filled in with cement, but I don’t mind the nests. This building is used mainly for storage.

There is an old loveseat inside, which has been used as a nest by the original Little Momma for her kittens during the winter. I have cardboard boxes stuffed into different spots, these boxes have d towels in them and have been sealed up aside from an entry hole on one side of the box. This provides a warmer spot to sleep during those colder months.

One of these boxes is currently occupied each evening by a momma possum and her babies. Yes, I know possums are considered a threat to the coop, but this possum is permitted to stay because she saved Pooka from a snake. After killing the snake, she checked Pooka for injuries, groomed him, and nudged him back into the dairy building to be with his littermates and Momma. She is not aggressive towards us or towards the barn kitties. They treat her like one of their own.

I never planned on having barn kitties, but fate decided that we needed barn kitties. I love having them around. They hunt gophers, snakes, rabbits, mice, and whatever else they can catch. They don’t bother with the birds. I assume this is because there are plenty of other things to hunt that have more meat.

Hubby wakes up every morning to the latest kill left next to his truck. By the time I venture outside each morning, the gift has been taken away and no trace of it remains.

I will take more pictures of the barn kitties when I am fast enough to catch them on film and when I finally find these kittens, I will take plenty of pictures without disturbing her hiding spot. I don’t want her to have to risk moving them again just because I found them. I do my best to not disturb a nest filled with kittens because moving them to a new nest means risking a predator attack and losing a kitten or even all of them. I hope you enjoyed meeting the barn kitties. Until next time…..