Animals, foreign and domestic

Cats, dogs, and chickens, as well as the occasional unwelcome visitor.

First Day of Spring…

…my dead can.

You may have noticed that it’s cold. Like freeze your nose hair off cold. I worked in the field on Monday and part of Tuesday, and that wind went through me like buzz saw.

Last year this time, the daffodils were blooming and my cherry tree was in full bloom. Today? Snow flurries. The ground is so hard that cleaning out beds is a major chore; the dead leaves are frozen solid.

I just can’t get motivated to get out into my own garden to knock down the last of the rye or turn the compost,and the soil’s too cold for spring planting. Instead, I am mostly spending my free time making garden lists, cruising Pinterest, and following the example of my cats:

When the cats aren't even bothering to make a break for the door, you know it's chilly.

When the cats aren’t even bothering to make a break for the door, you know it’s chilly.


Categories: Animals, foreign and domestic, The garden year | Leave a comment

Good Bye, Sweet Lou

October has been a pretty rough month here at the Fraudulent Farmstead, not least because we said good bye to our sweet stray cat, Lou.

Lou first showed up about six years ago. I had started putting food out for another stray, but Lou moved right in, hunkered down, and made himself at home. He lived in a little blue house on the front porch, ignored any number of squirrels, possums, and—on a few occasions, raccoons—that helped themselves to his food, and generally lived the life of Riley.

Our sweet Lou.

It took a while for Lou to warm up to me, but once he did, he was aggressively affectionate. He enjoyed supervising my work in the garden, occasionally squirming directly under my arm to make sure I paid attention to him. Other times, he’d flop down a few feet away to observe. Continue reading

Categories: Animals, foreign and domestic | 2 Comments

Prepping for the Apocalypse

Right, so I got about 5 minutes into Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo before I couldn’t take any more. I mean, I believe in raising my own food. And I’m all about preparing for tornadoes, temporary power outages, and the various disasters we’re prone to here in the heartland (so far, the earthquakes have been minimal, and no tsunamis have been reported).

But you have to draw the line somewhere. Let’s see where I fall on the prepping scale, shall we?

1. Grow some of your own food? Check.

2. Raise chickens in your back yard? Check.

3. Have supply of water and prepared foods on hand in case of emergency? Check.

4. Have the know-how to rig a solar cooker, raise potatoes, and preserve some of your garden bounty? Check.

5. Run drills in the dead of night in case you are about to be invaded by marauding bands of looters who will steal your precious 30-year supply of dried beans? Ch–wait, what?

Seriously. This couple ran armed drills–at night, in the dark–to make sure they were prepared for invasion. They learned Tagalog, just so they could have a way of communicating that the invaders would not understand.

Tagalog? I mean, Klingon at least gets you some geek cred.

Another group had a 30-year supply of food and ran drills so that they could move themselves, their animals, their weapons (can’t forget the weapons), and their supplies by converted school bus to a remote, hidden location.

Remember, this is what I gleaned from 5 minutes of watching this show. I couldn’t get through a whole episode: I started to veer between scoffing and moments of paranoia.

And now, it turns out I don’t even have the right kind of chickens in case the zombie apocalypse arrives. My Rhode Island Reds are just not going to cut it in the camouflage department, making them an easy target for zombies looking for the perfect taste complement to the neighbor’s brain.

"Oh my god, Margaret! The zombies have already gotten a hold of that one!"

One of my friends assures me that in a post-Apocalyptic world, I will be quite valuable thanks to my knowledge of how to raise food. Well, thank god. Because clearly my survival is going to depend on hooking up with some people who have the wherewithal to shoot at invaders, and I better be able to bring something to the table.

And just as clearly, it won’t be my chickens.

Categories: Animals, foreign and domestic | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Rogues’ Gallery

All units, be on the  lookout. A team of feline criminals is running amuck at the Fraudulent Farmstead.

Ace. Don't let the picture fool you. He has legs with claws, and he knows how to use them.

Name: Ace

Aliases: Big Orange, Burlesque Boy, Rogue Pee-er, Furry Tumor

Crimes: Attempting to smother humans by lying on their chests, stealing fuzzy blankets, snagging sparkly trim and thread from humans attempting to sew, peeing with malice aforethought throughout domicile, and causing a public disturbance by bolting food in order to hork it back up as loudly as possible.

Miss Kitty. Do not make her angry. You would not like her when she's angry.




Name: Miss Kitty

Aliases: Kit Kat, Dander Free Kitty the Hypoallergenic Cat, Her Highness, Fuzzy Butt

Crimes: Extortion of chicken and other human food through intimidation, relieving herself two inches from the litter box (even if the box has just been cleaned), grooming herself while sitting on top of humans, and shedding without a license.

Fiona. All your stuff is belonging to her.




Name: Fiona

Aliases: Black Cat, No Neck, FiFi, Ferocious Fi, Shithead

Crimes: Running amuck, destruction of property, disturbing the peace, destruction of property, conspiracy to wreak havoc, and destruction of property.




Subjects were photographed while meeting at their headquarters.

Be aware, felines are armed with claws and very sharp teeth. They are capable of working as a team, particularly when extorting food from humans.

Known gathering places include the couch, the beds, and any place they are not supposed to be. Felines will make a run for it if given the slightest opportunity. Approach with extreme caution and salmon treats.

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Good-bye Gabby Girl

It’s been a rough week here at the Fraudulent Farmstead. We said good-bye to our sweet Gabby on Monday. It’s amazing how dog can leave such a hole in your life. It’s far too quiet, even when two of the cats start chasing each other around. Although frankly, even the cats seem kind of subdued.

Our Gabs.

She was smart, and stubborn, and she had her humans well-trained. She was Ginny’s best friend, protector, and precocious kid all in one, and she was happy to boss me around too if she could get away with it.

Up to the end, she still loved to go for walks, even when we had to loop a blanket around her hind end to help her along. She outwitted any number of “smart toys” that were supposed to keep her occupied for hours. Ginny bought her an everlasting treat ball, but it took Ginny longer to get the treat into the ball than it did for Gabby to get it out.

Gabby loved people, although she wasn’t crazy about other dogs. She actually liked our cats Ace and Fiona, even when they walked under her face and dragged their tails along her chin. Miss Kitty, on the other hand–Gabby felt it was her mission in life to keep Miss Kitty from infringing on her own begging territory. She had no patience for Miss Kitty’s oozing up to her humans and asking for food.

Gabby was happiest when the center of attention, either from her mom or from any random people who dropped by the house. She had a huge personality and the soul of an entertainer. We miss her dreadfully.

We love you, Gabs.

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