Archive for June 5th, 2011

…and three stray cats in my porch, all waiting for the barn to get done.

We had not counted on me being so useless when we made up the timelines for the barn construction.  Things were also complicated by the fact that, until a few weeks ago, it was full of canola – it was being used as a granary when we bought the place, and the folks who owned the grain did not have anywhere else to put it.  So, now we are rushing, trying to get everything done so that we can get the barn critters out there, where they belong.

We are also somewhat hampered by the fact that we don’t have a truck, so the stack of extra 2×4 and 4×4 boards I picked up a few weeks back (when we were getting fencing material with a borrowed truck) are all we have, besides what we can salvage from tearing down walls inside the barn, and / or cannibalizing other buildings on the Acreage.  I keep telling Hubby that it does not have to be perfect – it’s not the Taj Mahal…so now we’ve taken to calling it the Chicken Mahal, or the Goat Mahal, depending on which part of it we are working on at the time.

The chicks did not fit too well in the tub in the first place, but they seem to have about doubled in size in the last five days.  We started out putting them in the nearly – completed chicken coop, but it was -1 (Celsius) and windy on the night we brought them home, and we discovered a bunch of drafts that we had not previously known about.   The poor little things were huddled so tight under the heat lamp that I thought they would suffocate one another, and they were still shivering.  We tried to plug up the holes in the walls, but it was dark and crappy out, and it was past our bedtime and we were getting grumpy, so we gave up and moved them indoors.   Unfortunately, they seem to be randomly keeling over anyways, one by one, and we’ve gone from 52 to 48.  Hubby has started a little chicken graveyard in a clearing in the woods, as we didn’t know what else to do with the corpses.  The guy at the Co-op, as well as several colleagues from work, had warned us about that, and said you always lose a few.  Doesn’t make it nice or fun, though.

We do need to get them back outside, as I have to pick the chicks out one by one, put them in a box, get them past four curious pets and into a safe room with the door closed, plus disinfect the tub, just to have a shower.  It is a major process, and I am getting tired of it.

We have now paneled the Chicken Mahal walls about four feet up, using tongue-and-groove boards we pulled down when we were removing some other walls in the barn.  We also stapled up cardboard on the internal dividing walls where a breeze blows through from one of the other stalls.  We had not originally planned on worrying about the interior door until later, but two of the cats we acquired yesterday appear to be hunters, so we’ll have to secure the chicks properly.  Building the door is this afternoon’s project.

The cats are courtesy of a Humane Society a couple of hours from here.  Normally the Humane Society does not give cats away for free, but one of the employees at this particular place uses her own money to have the least-adoptable ones fixed, then gives them to good homes.   We qualified for one, and mentioned that we could take up to three (since that’s how many carriers we happened to have).   Between when we originally contacted her and when we got to the place to pick up a cat, two spayed females had been surrendered by their owners, so she gave them to us, plus an older boy.  We wanted fixed cats, as we did not want to have cat over-population problems, but also did not want to pay for getting a bunch of cats fixed.

We did not like the names the cats came with, and the cats did not answer to them anyhow, so we re-named them right away.  We now have Bobbi (a white Manx), Molly (a medium haired tabby) and Stevie (a brown long haired tabby).  Bobbi is a little shy, and not thrilled with other cats, but has gotten quite friendly with us.  Apparently she caught a mouse the morning she was turned over to the Humane Society, which is good.  Molly is overly friendly, and will either try to climb your leg, or will launch off the nearest high point, to get on your shoulder, which is the only place she wants to be.  Stevie is supposedly only 4, but I think he is more like 1o or 12, and I suspect somewhat arthritic.  He gets a funny look on his face, and sways and  bobs his head like Stevie Wonder when you are paying attention to him.  He seems shy and gentle and a little confused, but his face looks a little like Pookie did, and I couldn’t turn him down, as he is not a pretty cat, nor young and playful, and had been at the shelter for months – his next stop would have been the vet for that last needle, and I did not want that.   We are building them a little kitty hotel in the Goat Mahal, so they will have a nice, cozy place to sleep.  I don’t even really care if they ever catch a mouse…as long as they scare them away from the barn and all the feed, they have done their job.

At any rate, we’d better get back at that barn before we wind up with goats in our kitchen to match the rest of the zoo…

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