Phoebe is beyond delighted to have the coop to herself. Rabbits are tidy creatures – those chickens were impolite and got in her personal space, and she hated having to tip-toe her way through piles of hen poop. Now she has fluffy, dry shavings to loll around in, and she keeps her surrounding clean by using a litter box when the weather is terrible and she can’t use her designated spot outside in the corner of the run. When Phoebe wants company she talks with the goats. Her humans visit at least twice a day. Life is very good.
We close all of the animals safely up into the barns at night; when Phoebe sees us coming, she hops up the ramp and hurries over to see what bedtime treat she’s been brought. Well, most of the time she comes in. Sometimes, the weather is just too wonderful, or she’s too busy star-gazing, or munching on a squash outside. Sometimes we give up and come back out later when she’s ready.
In any event, Phoebe has good hay, fresh water, rabbit pellets and a mineral block all of the time. At night she might get a dried banana chip, or an apple, or a carrot. Phoebe has decided that these good things should come more often.
The other morning, Steve arrived to open up her door to the outside. Phoebe looked at him and knocked over the food dish. This was a clear message.
The rabbit was obviously demanding something more delectable to eat. Who am I to deny the Princess of Little Pond Farm?
Remember when I said that I’d like to have a Long Ears in my life? I still don’t have one of my own, but I now get to visit with a burro several days a week.
At the beginning of January, Poh was adopted by the owners of River Front Farm, a stable where I have a couple of Lusitano gelding clients. Poh is of indeterminate age (ten?) and is shy of humans. At some point in his former history he learned that wherever a human wants him to go is probably not a good place, Poh has an amazing set of brakes on him. However, Poh has already decided that RFF is home, and that he’s in charge of all of the horses. He’s madly in love with one mare, so he gets to hang out with her, even when she’s in a riding lesson.
What’s especially charming and sweet about this photograph is that the instructor, the great Karl Mikolka, (who is now in his eighties and as active, demanding, and humorous as ever) was the chief rider at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. I doubt he had to conduct a lesson with a donkey in the ring there.
The wind is whipping around and it’s bitterly cold. But animals still need to be paid attention to. Steve shoveled the snow off the chickens’ ramp this morning, though I doubt they’ll want to go out. Wind ruffles feathers and the cold hits their skin. They’ll stay inside today, I think. I can’t stay in, I’ve got two horses to go see. It takes more time to care for animals when one has to bundle up, move slowly, and then thaw out. So, with little time to blog, I’ve pulled out this photo from my collection to share. This expresses why I do the work that I do.
When Scholastic picked up Tillie Lays an Egg, the idea was that it would be a series. Tillie Lays an Egg is a picture book, but the pictures are actually staged photographs of my hens in tableaus filled with vintage objects that happen to have chicken motifs. I happily set about finding and purchasing all sorts of things that had great poultry graphics, like this canister of louse powder:
And these tablets:
But, in the publishing world, there’s never a guarantee. My editor was let go. My new editor wasn’t interested. I was left with boxes of stuff for photo shoots that would never happen. It’s time to let it go. Most of it has little monetary value, but these objects should be owned by someone who’s going to look at them, and so I’m selling much of it on eBay (here’s the listing.)
Have you had collections and then sent them on to other homes? I know that many of you have poultry paraphernalia. What do you have displayed?
I don’t write about cats here, but not because I don’t like them, but because for many years I haven’t had any in my life. I grew up with cats, and loved them, but as a teen I developed severe allergies to house cats. Happily, though, I’ve been getting cat-time at the stable where Tonka lives. There are two. One is shy. She does her mousing job but stays clear of people. The other is everything that people love (or hate) about cats. He’s insouciant and arrogant. He was adopted from the animal shelter; he was probably given up because he can go from purring to claws out in attack mode in the blink of an eye. We all adore him. Last week he went straight up a white pine tree. One-hundred and ten feet up. A tree guy was called to get the cat down. See photos from that rescue here.
He’s not allowed to go into the boarders’ tack room. He’s especially not supposed to be on the table. He ignores our opinions about such things.
He arrived from the animal shelter with the name Dirk, that none of us like, so we call him Fat Cat.
There are barn cats, and then there are felines that are indoor, indulged pets. Babying animals isn’t a new phenomena. Here’s a flapper carrying her beloved kitty. Note the collar – zoom in and you’ll see that it’s as fancy as the fox wrap that the woman is wearing. My guess is that this cat enjoyed her life. House cats can be just as happy as barn cats, even without a 110-foot tree to scale.
Lindy, taken last summer