Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Wintry End to the Blog

Considering I haven't posted here since September, I thought it might be time to officially close the blog. Shortly after my previous last post, we discovered we'll be moving up to the Washington D.C. area in the early spring, and suddenly I lost heart for keeping up the blog.

Now that we've had time to absorb it, we're excited about the move. Change is what keeps life interesting, and this will certainly be a big one. We'll put the house here on the market next week, and start looking for a townhouse rental near shopping in probably the Maryland suburbs.

We'll miss our beautiful country home here in South Carolina. Most especially, we'll miss the weather. Today we got a reminder of what Maryland winters are like. This is what our backyard looked like when we woke up this morning.

It's beautiful but the goats Do. Not. Like. It.

They'll be the hardest to leave, I think. We'll find a good home for them, some place where they understand that goats can be great pets, with truly unique personalities.

We're going to miss this view, but someone else will get a chance to enjoy a wonderful place.

Thanks so much to everyone who was kind enough to read my silly musings about learning to live in the country! We had a blast. I'll never forget Gus the horse walking us around the pond...Arlene and Emma the goats teaching us how goats like to be petted....Gus and Boot, the cats who moved here with us and left a hole in our hearts when fate took them from us...and Hailey and Irving, the cats who just showed up one day and helped repair the hole. We learned a lot, laughed even more, and now have new challenges to meet. Goodbye!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What a Beautiful Berry

Isn't this the prettiest berry you've ever seen?

It's the American Beautyberry, a native plant. At our other house, we spent good money at a plant nursery to buy some of these after we saw them growing wild at Jekyll Island, Georgia. Unfortunately, what we bought was the (unlabelled) 'rare' white Beautyberry. When we moved to this house, we had planned to buy some of the purple ones but didn't get around to it that first spring. That August, we started seeing the purple berries everywhere, and found it grows wild by our pond.

I can't imagine why these aren't more popular.

I went to take the picture below, and didn't see the spider until I was right up on it.

These spiders grow wild down by the pond too. They freaked me out a little that first summer, but now I think they're gorgeous.

As long as they Stay. Out. Of. My. House.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Morning Snakes Are No Fun

I'm not really a morning person, but even if I were, this is not what I want to see in my living room first thing...

Actually, I don't want it in my living room at any time but I apparently don't get that choice. I get up before my husband does, and normally get ready and creep out for work without turning on lights. This morning I nearly beaned myself on the bedroom door doing that, so when I got to the living room, I turned on the light at a low level, just in time to keep myself from stepping on this (fortunately) harmless but quite impressive-looking Scarlet Kingsnake.

I can't be positive how it got into our living room, but I think this next picture may be a clue.

I could tell the snake was alive because it was twitching its tail, but I wasn't sure how easy it would be to pick up until our two very excited cats started wrestling with each other and rolled right over it. It didn't move, so I scooped it up with a dustpan and put it in the flower bed outside the front door.

It was gone from that spot by the time my husband got up, so I'm hoping it was just playing dead and managed to get away.

And that some annoying young cats won't be bringing it back through the cat door tonight...and into the bedroom to show us what fine hunters they are.

Hmmm...maybe we'll sleep with the bedroom door shut tonight.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 5, 2010


We've been observing some strange interactions among the goats, cats, and ducks recently. When we go walking down by the pond, they all tend to hover around. I'd love to think it was our magnetic personalities, but I'm afraid it might have more to do with the way food magically appears when we're around.

The other day, Arlene the goat was walking peacefully nearby when a small female duck, T.O., ran up and nipped her in the hind leg for no apparent reason. Arlene looked back, surprised, then just walked on, as if she gets nipped every day by small, ill-tempered ducks.

Of course I didn't have a camera with me that day, so this is a picture of Irving the cat wondering what I'm doing, with goats Arlene and Emma in the background, and large, clawed duck Corky hanging out to the side.

After I took that picture, Halley, our small white cat, came down to see what was going on. She wound up in between Corky and Arlene. As we watched, Corky moved menacingly toward her, so she turned to run -- have I mentioned he has claws? -- and found herself face to face with Arlene, who lowered her head, and horns, and charged...playfully? Who knows? Halley wisely turned and ran.

Of course I didn't get a picture of that either, just one of Halley wondering why everyone's so irritable tonight.

I did have my camera when Arlene decided it was time for me to pet her. She leaned against my leg while I scratched behind her ears. She loves that.

She loves that so much that when I decided it was time to resume taking pictures, she reminded me that it was petting time by pulling on my shorts' leg insistently. Like an idiot, I taught her that works by petting her again. I never learn.

Seriously, though, could you resist that?

Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 20, 2010

Goodbye, Boot

We had to have our 18-year-old cat Boot put to sleep this week. He had a long and full life. He was born in Cairo, Egypt, lived with us in six different countries, and died in South Carolina.

This is a picture from some years ago, back when he still had teeth. Both our Egyptian cats had major dental problems.

He was a beautiful cat, and one of the most intelligent ones I've known.

I got him in Cairo when a very kind woman drove me across town in rush-hour traffic to see what was supposed to be a long-haired kitten, living with an Egyptian woman who couldn't keep him, after his original family had kicked him out. He turned out to be a short-haired, year-old, nervous wreck of a cat, but I was too embarrassed not to take him after she'd driven me all that way. We stopped at the vet's on the way home, and he told me Boot was feral and could never be tamed.

For the first three days, we never saw him. We would wake up to find all the pictures ajar. He had evidently been trying to find a way out in the night, and thought they were windows. On the third day, I decided to give him one last chance. I found him pressed against the wall behind the stove. I held out some food in my hand. He sniffed it, hesitated, then came slowly toward me. As he reached me, he seemed to suddenly relax. He climbed into my lap and began to rub his head all over me.

He had just been terrified.

We were friends ever after, and he was always my cat, unlike our other cats, who've always loved my husband best.

Wondering why I said he was a short-haired cat, when the pictures clearly show otherwise? We took him back to the States for a year after Egypt, and that first winter, poof! He became a long-haired cat.

Here he is with Fergie, our other Egyptian cat, not too long after we got them both, back in his brief short-haired phase. She's been gone for years, but she was a wonderful cat.

This week the vet told us Boot had diabetes, arthritis, a serious heart murmur, and advanced cataracts. He wasn't enjoying his life any more, and it was time for him to pass on to whatever is next for our beloved pets.

I'm just going to remember him from happier days...

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fawn Hopes

I saw the fawn for the first time this evening...but not under good circumstances.

Two of our cats came bursting in through the cat door from outside a little while ago. We went outside to see what had spooked them, and found two cars stopped in the road in front of our house, staring off down the hill into the pasture. They said a deer had tried to jump our fence from the pasture into the road, but couldn't clear the fence. It kept banging into the fence, and then ran down the hill toward the pond.

When we heard that, we knew it must have been the fawn, since a grown deer could easily clear the fence. We ran down to look, and sure enough, a spotted fawn was down at the bottom of the pasture, trying to get through the fence that separates us from the neighbor.

That fence is wire mesh, and the squares in the top half are no more than about 6" wide. But on the other side of all the fencing on the outer edges of the property is the original barbed wire fencing. We cut it down on the inner boundaries, where we interact with the goats, but left it on the outside to keep predators out. It's not a high fence...but the fawn couldn't get over it, and was trying to go through it.

By the time I caught up to it, it had succeeded in forcing itself through one of the 6" squares, and the barbed wire, but was caught by its hips. Its head was on the ground on the other side of the fence, and it was panting heavily. It was bloodied from the attempts to get through the barbed wire. I took its hind legs and straightened them to the rear so that it could complete the slide through the fence, and it took off across the neighbor's yard toward the forest.

Deer are considered pests here, as in so many places, and our neighbors have had serious accidents from hitting them on the roads, but I can't help but hope that its mother finds it, and that its wounds aren't too serious.

Below is a picture of its mother coming for the ducks' grain on a better evening.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ducks Continue to Demand Scratch

The deer must still be eating the ducks' grain, because they were up in the yard again this evening. This time the females came up to the garage as usual, but the males came up the hill into the front pasture. We heard the quacking, and of course when we came out, the goats thought we were going to feed them and went on high alert.

I thought I was going to have to open the gate into the front yard for the ducks, but they figured it out, quacking loudly as they went.

They gave Halley the cat a wide berth...

...and finally were rewarded with a bin full of 'scratch' after the long journey.

We had thought about trying to scare the deer away, until one day she brought her fawn with her.

I guess we can just refill the bin more frequently for a while longer.

Posted by Picasa

You Might Also Like

Blog Widget by LinkWithin