Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Inside Cockeyed Critter Report

It has been a while since I've done a critter report so I'll address it now. First, we'll start with the household critters and next post will be the outdoor critters. There's just too many of them for one post.

Nnyus, our pit bull/ridge back mix, has had a busy winter keeping large predators away from the chickens and rabbits. Arthritis is starting to set into this older girl. As with most working class breeds, her hips are affected. A baby aspirin encased in a cube of cheese keeps the pain and stiffness away. She's had her dose of DE (diatomaceous earth) for worms this week. It should take care of the bloated belly she's had. We've had an active coyote presence this winter. There's not a night that goes by that she's not in and out protecting her charges. Of course afterwards, she'll take her rightful spot next to Mel on her queen sized bed with her muddy clay covered paws and muzzle. It makes quite a mess of Mel's ivory colored quilt too. But she's earning her keep.

Herbie, our border terrier mix, is our rat and small vermin catcher. Since the hurricane blew past us in late summer, we've had an issue with rats. It doesn't help that the cats will bring them inside to play with them. But Herbie to the rescue. With his allergies to fleas comes whining sessions as he scratches and nibbles away at spots where they frequent. He's a grumpy, old man by nature. If you tell him to do something he doesn't want to do he'll bark/argue with you. In fact, he can be very demanding at times with his sharp sounding, terrier bark. Mel and I both have been awakened by him several times a night.

Although Mel taught him to whisper, he has to want to do it. But by the same token, the terrier trait of loyalty holds fast in him also. He's always at my feet. If I go somewhere on the property, he's always close by. If I drive off the property, he waits for me to return, and then announces that I'm home as I come down the driveway. It's a happy "Jo's home!" bark. He doesn't know what to make of my rollator though.

Whirling Dervish is truly Mel's cat. She suffers with her sinus issues sometimes sneezing twenty times in a row. Everything is touched with her snot art. I've never seen a cat that asks for wine before but she does.She's an alcoholic, I swear! No matter what Mel is drinking, even screwdrivers, this cat has got to have some. I've watched her when Mel leaves the table. Dervish will put her face into glasses of alcoholic beverages and help herself! She loves her some Mel too. Even if Dervish wasn't Mel's service cat, she's always withing calling distance of Mel. She loves to do her tricks when out in public. On rare occasions, she will allow me to pay homage to her.

Patches is my tortoise shell cat. At 16, she's still the best mouser around. She cleared the barn of rats and other vermin in a matter of days. Mel came in and told me about a line of dead rats near the garage door of the barn. She wondered what had killed them. The answer was Patches. Every since she was a younger cat with an older cat around, she learned to line up her presents to me outside. That's how she got praise and acceptance of her gifts. She has a mission in life to serve as my guardian when I'm outside. She'll walk me to my car door. When I return she'll escort me from my car into the house. She and Dervish have settled on being dual queens of the household. They will still hiss at it each when both are in a foul mood, but otherwise peace reigns.

Lil Bit is my 16 year-old Calico cat. She's a timid thing having always been the baby of the house until moving up here. She's a mama's girl. Wherever I am, she's content. She purrs me to sleep at night and wakes me in the morning with kisses/licks. Usually, her licks are with the soft part at the tip of her tongue. If I don't wake up she gets more insistent. She licks my eyelid with the rough part of her tongue. After almost two years here, she's finally going in and out the pet door. I wish she and Flynn would get along because they could have so much fun together, but Lil Bit is having none of that. I don't think Lil Bit has forgiven me for moving her up here. She's low man on the household pet's hierarchy totem pole because of her timidity.  But then, wherever I am is home. She'll go into hiding if I'm gone longer than 24 hours and won't come out until I return.

Flynn, Mel's orange and cream baby that we found abandoned on our property, is growing up. She's still got a lot of kitten in her. Everything is a toy to her even little scraps of wood. So much so that she's even got the old lady queens, Dervish and Patches, playing with her. I don't believe she knows how to walk. She runs and scampers everywhere. She's definitely Mel's baby. She's still got to have her "momma" cuddles times with Mel several times a day. Wherever Mel is on the property, Flynn is close by. If she isn't eating, playing, or sleeping this kitten is in Mel's arms.

Of course, we both still treat her as a baby. She's adventuresome and almost fearless. The only time I have seen her shy away from something is strangers. She'll peek around corners until Mel tells her they are alright. Then, she back being busy investigating everything. It's been good for us having a kitten around again.

This week Flynn started her day as normal by harassing Lil Bit, and playing with Patches and Derv. Then, she went outside to play with the chickens and say good morning to the rabbits. Her idea of playing with the chickens is to hide in the Monkey grass or bushes and jump at them. It's great fun to hear them squawk and jump straight up in the air. Unfortunately, one morning she found a snake to play with. It was poisonous and Flynn was no more. We dutifully killed the snake. With all the rain we've had they are coming out of the woods.

That's it for the inside pets. It is never quiet around here unless they are all sleeping, which doesn't happen very often. As you can imagine, it's difficult keeping a clean house with this many animals under foot. But then again, this is a working homestead not some glamorous penthouse apartment in the big city.
It's supposed to a dusty blue color carpet

We do dust and vacuum, but you wouldn't know it if you visited at will. But we are also in winter mode,we are toting in wood and kindling inside, and emptying the ash pan from under the wood stove. If you've ever operated a wood stove as your only source of heat, you understand what I'm saying. There are little bits of wood and ash in a five foot circle around it. We'll sweep it clean and vacuum, only to do it all again in a day or two because it looks like we have never touched it. It's four dustpans full every time we do it.

Currently, we are trying to figure out a way to rip the carpet out of the living and dining areas. As you can see from the photos, it needs to come out. What's underneath this carpet would give someone nightmares. Not that taking the carpet out is the issue besides moving the heavy furniture. It's the staining and varnishing the new wood floors that's the issue with all these animals. We'd have paw prints all over it before it dries. If it dried in a couple of hours there would be no problem, but for eight to twenty-four hours! It's just not feasible. Of course, we could also do linoleum, but it wouldn't be as pretty or durable.

 Next week, I'll introduce you to the outside Cockeyed Critters namely the rabbits and chickens.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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