Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Nebraska Pied Piper

We have a parade each morning following John to the barn.  All the cats make their way to the back door about the time John is ready to go out each morning.  He walks out on the deck, says hello to all of them and starts walking toward the barn.IMG_0095The photo above doesn’t show all of them but as you can see John has to step carefully as they walk/trot back and forth between his legs.  The yellow and white cat in the rear is “Mr. Cat” our oldest cat on the farm.  He is between 17 and 19 years old.  He sleeps in the shop but still makes his rounds each morning after he eats to check for mice.IMG_0099Joined by a couple more cats as he gets closer to the barn.  The white and black one is “Dafinee” (spelling by Granddaughter 3 years ago.)  She had 4 kittens about 3 weeks ago and they are just the cutest things.  One black one and 3 that are all white with black spots.  Right now they have their eyes open and are little butterballs.  I go out every day to pet them to keep them tame as the grandkids love to play with the cats when they come and if we don’t handle them as they grow up they get wild.

We don’t feed the cats close to the house as that encourages them to hang out near the back door or the garage door.  That leads to cats getting run over and we don’t want that.  We like them to hang out in the barn where there are hay bales to snuggle in when it gets cold and they also keep the mice from taking over. 

All the cats have names of course.  The grandchildren provide most of the names and it is fun to see what they come up with.  This is the list of cats from oldest to youngest.
*Mr. Cat – old yellow and white neutered tomcat lives in the heated shop in the winter
*Darkness - surprise, surprise she is black and spayed and also lives in the heated shop in the winter.
*Anew -  a-new-cat …he was a stray kitten we found 1/2 mile from us in a ditch a year ago -  he has not been around for a while-hopefully visiting a neighbor
*Emma – a black female cat with some white markings, a sister to Dafinee.  She had kittens last summer but the kittens were killed by a raccoon and she has not had another litter.
*Dafinee – white female cat with black spots and 4 new kittens which are not all named for sure yet.  So far we have Darth the black one, Leperd, white with medium black spots - spelling by grandson, Spots, white with big spots,  Buttons, the last white with black spots kitten.
*Mars – yellow tomcat and his brother Saturn a grey and white tomcat- (granddaughters gave us these two and they name their litters of kittens by theme names and this litter was planets) Saturn has also decided to go elsewhere and we hope he is also visiting the neighbors.
*Faith and Chuck – Siamese colored kittens that are so cute that were brought out from someone in town that couldn’t keep them.
*Louis and Kenna – Dark tabby kittens and litter mates of Faith and Chuck and also like to cuddle.  Kenna got her name changed as she was first named Ken but later we figured out the granddaughters had not quite ID correctly as the he was a she.  They are pretty good at figuring out the sex but on little tiny kittens it is sometimes hard to tell until they are a little older.

I know this seems like a lot of cats but on a farm the life span of cats can be short or they leave to  live elsewhere so new kittens each year are needed.  We need cats to hunt in all the outside buildings on the farmstead, hunt around the big bales of hay as well.  Rodents can do a lot of damage if not kept in check. We hope Anew and Saturn show up again but they may not chose live here again which is not uncommon for tomcats.  It is unusual for an outside farm cat to live as long as Mr. Cat so we are very watchful of him when we drive in and out of the yard with vehicles or farm machinery.  He doesn’t see or hear the best anymore and only walks at one pace and that is slooooow… step at a time.  We just wait until he gets out of our path as he will not run out of the way no matter what you do to hurry him along.

I remember growing up on the farm I lived on as a kid with lots of cats and in Nebraska that is the norm on most farms.  My brothers and sisters and I played and played with them and had them all named of course.  The big challenge each spring was to watch the mama cats to see where they came from when you called so we could find the kittens.  They always tried to hide them and sometimes were quite ingenious in the spots they chose and some times they would take the long way around to come to eat so we would not find their babies but we kept up our vigil and usually found them before they were too old.

Harvest is marching along here on our farm and even though I am not out in the field driving a piece of equipment I don’t seem to get much done as far as quilting goes.  I am cooking for the crew and delivering the evening meals and help move the equipment to new fields, etc.   Every once in a while I get the sewing machine cranked up then get interrupted and have to stop.   We may have a little more than a week left then will have all the crops harvested for this year.  They finished combining the yellow corn yesterday and are working on soybeans now but have about 100 acres of white corn left as well.  Our corn has yielded very well, best yields we have ever had and the soybeans are doing OK but not exceptional.  We have irrigation on most of the land we farm so even though the drought included Nebraska we could keep the crops watered except on the corners of he center pivots and a few other plots of ground.

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Until Later,


Lizzie P said...

love 'Mr Cat'! we had a litter all named after local towns - Bingley, pudsey, otley, but the one we kept (Bingley) was always known as P.C. - short for Pussy Cat. Funny how these things stick!

Exuberant Color said...

We had the barn cats too when I was a kid. I named every one of them too. My brothers didn't get into that though they liked to play with the kittens. It was always sad to lose one in a mowing accident in the alfalfa fields.

Anonymous said...

Fortune of the heart : the silence space of the field! Very nice post, thank you for sharing.


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