Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Truck o' Death strikes again!

Three weeks after running over Lemon, the Truck o' Death has claimed another victim. This time it was an adorable fourteen-week-old gray kitten.

I was getting something out of the truck and the kitten jumped in. I picked her up and set her back on the ground. Just as I was closing the door, she jumped again and got caught when the door slammed shut.

Unlike Lemon, death was not instant for the kitten. She flopped onto the ground, tail twitching. She'd occasionally try to drag herself forward but I think one of her front legs was broken. She was also having trouble breathing. There was no blood but it was obvious that this was really bad.

I put a little food out for the other cats to distract them while I went and got the rifle. Yep, that's right. I shot a kitten. And even though it had to be done, I still feel horrible about it.

Tropical Depression Fay ended up dumping more than six inches of rain on me. Things have barely dried and the Hurricane Gustav rains have already started. At least I got some mowing done today. I have a feeling the next couple days are going to be pretty soggy.

The laptop is on the fritz again. Back to using the vintage computer with Windows 98 so no photos today.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rainy days & Mondays

There's been plenty of rain in these parts for the last couple days. Around four inches by now. According to the radar, it looks like today will be more of the same.

Normally, weather systems here advance from the west. Since I have an almost 180-degree view to the west from my house with visibility of about 40 miles, I can see approaching storms long before they actually reach me. But this whirling dervish known as Tropical Storm Fay (or Tropical Depression Fay as she's called now) has been sending storms from the south and east. This keeps me much more dependent on watching the radar online.

Of course, by the time Fay reaches this far inlan
d, she's lost a lot of her oomph. There's still quite a bit of wind but nothing like what the coastal areas have seen. I've had a few empty buckets and scrap pieces of tin travel across the yard. The free-standing hammock had to be taken down lest it catch the wind like a sail and take flight.

Other than that, the only real damage came from my tomcat who jumped into the cab of my truck looking for a dry place to sleep. I had rolled the windows down during a lull in the storm. I rolled them back up when it started to rain again, unaware that Spalding was inside.

About six hours had passed before I went to the truck to get something. Spalding ran out as soon as I opened the door. It only took a fraction of a second for the smell to hit me. He had sprayed somewhere inside the truck and now it reeks of cat piss. With the constant rain, I can't even roll the windows back down to air it out. Sigh...just one more step towards my inevitable fate
as a crazy old cat lady.

Tornado warnings are starting to be issued. I heard the sirens a little while ago. One of my neighbors drove up and asked if I was listening to the radio. Funnel clouds spotted nearby - about ten to fifteen miles away.

Just to be on the safe side, I threw a couple important things in a bag next to the door: cash (my life savings of about $50), ID, camera, tobacco and my external hard drive.

This metal box I now call home is no place to ride out a tornado. If I do have to take cover, I'll make a run for my neighbor's unfinished house close to where our properties border each other. It's just basement walls. It was built a few years back - he only had the money to do that much at th
e time. Someday - who knows when - he'd like to finish the house. But for now, it's just three concrete walls that we both think of as the tornado bunker.

If a tornado comes, you'll find me in the lower left-hand corner

Monday, August 18, 2008

I really need to carry the camera with me more often

I was down near Frankencoop this afternoon, picking fruit from the old pear tree. My alpha rooster, Gimpy, started making a ruckus and I turned around to see a Great Egret come in for a landing right on the top of the chicken coop.

It was the first time I'd ever seen one. Standing at least three feet tall, it was one of the largest birds I've ever seen on the property - exceeded only perhaps by the occasional Great Blue Heron flying overhead.

Sadly, I did not have the camera on me. It was inside the house a few hundred yards away. The egret didn't hang around long either because Della, the usually quiet and reserved hound dog, started barking at the tall stranger. The bird took off to the east, flying over the goat pasture in search of a quieter place to rest.

I need to get back in the habit of toting the camera around with me. I stopped doing that when the laptop went into a coma but now, miracle of miracles, the laptop is working again. I have no idea what was wrong or if anything is still wrong. I'm operating under the assumption that the damned thing could conk out again any day so I make a point of backing it up every single day.

I'm still going to keep the blog over here at blogspot. Just seems easier that way for now. But at least now I can post photos again.

Della, my old hound dog

Lemon hanging at the beach in Michigan

The front yard has seemed awfully empty without Lemon. So many hot afternoons I would sit on the porch reading a book while Lemon puttered around in the shade under the porch. Sometimes, if she'd been quiet for a long period of time, I would call out "Bawk-bawk?" And she would respond "Bawk-bawk." I miss that.

There are a couple hens that now live up here by the house. They both fell sick last week and I moved them up here to isolate them from the rest of the flock in case they were contagious. Fortunately, they both recovered. I decided that, since I missed having a chicken close by, I would keep them up here.

There's also a rooster that I plan on moving up here soon. His name is Caleb and he was originally destined for the dinner table but I grew too fond of him.
He's a big adorable doofus of a rooster, weighing in at about 12 pounds, that follows me around like a dog. I'd originally envisioned bringing him up here as a companion to Lemon but he'll be just as happy with the other two hens. I can't keep him in Frankencoop much longer since there are already two permanent roosters there as well as three young ones who will eventually wind up as chicken salad or sweet & sour.

About a week ago, Caleb started following me up the driveway to the house - behavior I encouraged by tossing him garden treats like cucumber and melon if he completed the trip. It didn't take him long to just show up in the yard on his own. I was happy about this because I think it will make the transition that much easier if he's already familiar with the territory.

The only downside is that he now has access to the tomato patch. I wouldn't mind so much if he just ate three or four tomatoes and called it good. Instead, he takes just a few pecks at dozens of tomatoes, working his way through every red one he can find. Now, I have to be sure to pick the tomatoes every morning before he has a chance to get to them.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


This was supposed to be my overdue post about the roadtrip to Michigan with my chicken, Lemon. I'd written most of it already and was hoping to get it done tonight. Still struggling with uploading photos to this ancient computer I'm stuck with. I really wanted to post photos of Lemon at the beach.

But I ended up scrapping it after a horrible accident that just happened: I ran over Lemon with the truck. She died instantly.

I can't believe it happened. It wasn't even an hour ago. Fuck. I was crazy about that hen.

Tomorrow I will be digging another grave in the pet sematary. A big hole for a big bird - she was a whopping ten pounds. Not my biggest chicken but definitely my biggest hen. I was working on some renovations to her coop but those can now wait until I get around to moving other birds into it.

Well, I guess when I get the photo thing working, I'll post that picture of Lemon hanging out at the beach. Maybe tell you a little about our trip.

I'll also have to post a photo of my new dog, Della. She's a 15-year-old hound dog that belonged to the elderly shut-in I cared for. After the lady died, nobody in the family was in a position to take the dog so they asked if I would do it. They even offered to keep providing the dog food.

She's a very mellow dog. When she's not following me around, she's sleeping on the back steps. Gets along swimmingly with the chickens. The cats are still a bit pissed about the situation but they'll get used to it.

Oh yeah, and I turned the big 40 on Thursday. Many thanks to those who sent good wishes and great gifts!