Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Escapades, escapes, and scapes

Life on any farm has its ups and downs, and those of us that pursue this lifestyle know that sometimes the ups and downs come with laughs, sometimes you come close to committing a crime, and sometimes the lifestyle amazes you. Whichever it is, it's definitely harder than most people realize. (Hence, the blog...)

This week it has been all of the above.

Cats on the farm can be quite utilitarian, but we seem to have passed right by that function and moved on to "soft lumps of purring companionship". But even there, I beg to draw The Line. We have a house cat (so deemed because life on the outside is just too risky for my daughter's emotional stability) who wakes me up practically every morning by purring in my ear. Loudly. But she has pushed this companionship thing a little too far. She has taken over my bath.

And this morning, she just wasn't giving it up. For anything. Even when I started up the water. So I figured I could start by washing my hair (under the faucet and with the pseudo-shower attachment thingy - we have no shower, don't ask.) and she would get the hint. Apparently not. She stayed right there for the rinse, too. And when I shifted positions to continue, still no movement. (Now this is where it gets ridiculous, but it was before 6, and any caffeine.) I actually finished the whole thing, remaining in pseudo-shower mode, so as not to push the envelope, and she responded by simply beginning to wash her nether parts, remaining defiantly in the dry end of the tub. I could have had this photographically documented, but the blog is PG, so forget that.

Now, being that we are a farm, people think they can drop off unwanted pets, and somehow they will discover some idyllic life on the farm, and we farmers will magically have loads of extra pet food just lying about. So, there are a sizeable herd of feral cats in all stages of wildness wandering about. We worked hard to tame one, dubbed Max, and have taken her into our hearts. Once we had done all the hard work, de-ticking, cleaning, feeding, and getting the flea collar, our neighbors decided they needed another trailer cat, and promptly snatched Max up. For days, I worried some evil had befallen her, until the fateful day we drove by and saw Max plastered up against the bathroom window, mewing. Wheh! Not dead, just kidnapped. But I couldn't imagine how I was going to have THAT conversation with the less-than-friendly neighbors...

Knock, knock. "Do you have my stray?"

Well, apparently the first weekend the grand-brats were over, one of them left the door open, and Max escaped. Yay, we have our stray back.

Now it appears the word is out in the feline press. Our porch is the new place to be and be seen. This greeted me this morning.

This kitty yoga practitioner is another stray. Now named Henry, for the time being.

Two nights ago, as I sat picking away at the computer, I heard a familiar "bleh". But it took only a second to register - this "bleh" was WAY too close. I looked outside into the pitch blackness beyond the front porch, and all six sheep ran by. All there was to do at 11:00 p.m. was pack them in the upper barn, and wait for the morning.

They had broken out of their pasture, broken into the garden, and broke out the onion dip, baby. They didn't leave until they had eaten every brocolli, brussel sprout, cauliflower and onion top. I seriously considered a mutton barbeque. And I'm vegetarian.

For me, the worst damage was the wheat. Almost 2/3 the plot. (Sigh.)

Why couldn't they have taken the garlic scapes? We planted garlic for the first time this year, and almost 100 plants came up. So that's 100 scapes. (Garlic "flowers"/"buds") That's a lot of scapes for folks who don't have a clue what to do with them. But we're learning!


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I could have used you this morning during my own sheep rodeo! I haltered three of the four girls like I did yesterday morning to lead them out to the new little "pasture" we fenced Sunday. But this time Bella went the other way, instead of following her mother. I scrambled to secure the other three girls and then ran screaming, "Don't go there, you'll break quarantine!" Averted any nose-to-nose contact and got her headed in the right direction, but she refused to go where the other girls were. Eventually she ran back into the fold, where I had to tackle her in order to get a halter on her and lead her out to join the others. Hmm, I guess that's today's blog post.... Glad you got your Max cat back!

Lisa said...

Oh, sheep in the garden are so frustrating! I'm finally quitting on electronet for a while, so I can have some veggies. The girls aren't happy they are some place escape-proof, but really. It was just too much.

I'm glad your kitty came back, too.

Lisa said...

My sympathies on the sheep in the garden! I can so relate. I've got a llama refusing to stay penned in, ever, but she seems to be limiting herself to the burning bush and red twig dogwoods, which I'm telling myself needed cut back anyway.

Karin said...

Never a dull moment in this life.

Kathy L. said...

I am so glad you got your Max back! Poor Max...being held like the Prisoner of Zenda down the road. Time for Max to stay in? Let the neighbors have one of the other strays that hasn't been tamed and see if they like that. ;)

My DH has been taking care of the sheep whilst I recover from the back surgery. One in particular has been giving him fits as the little brat can figure out more ways through fences than Houdini...and I get to sit in a chair and direct! (Don't I hear Ole out in the neighbors field again?) Heeheehee! The only thing is that with the weather so dry, we haven't had much garden for any sheep to get into this year.

CountryGoalie said...

I was visiting your blog via Notes from Zone 4 and noticed your comment about having no clue what to do with garlic scapes. Well, I recently came across this post at one of my regular reads that outlines how to make pickled garlic scapes.

I have no idea if they're any good or not, but the guy sells homegrown garlic powder every year and seems to do pretty well... so I would think he might have some idea?

Hope that helps.

melanie said...

What an excellent link! I read and read, and now regret having given the scapes to friends...next year, we try the recipe!