Sunday, July 26, 2009


We were SO blessed this week with family! No one lives nearby, so we don't get to see one another often. Monday afternoon Travis (son), Pam and Brenden (left side) arrived from Savannah, GA, along with their greyhounds, Merlin & Morgan (foreground) and a persian cat, Avalon (not pictured). At the same time, Mike's sister, Debbie (center back) and niece, Chrys (center left) arrived from California. Then on Tuesday, Cheyenne (daughter), John and Riley (right side) arrived at DFW from Arizona. And of course you can pick out Mike and me and our dog, Sam - we're all that's left!! This is the best close-up to show the grandsons with their moms. The timing of the visits is to get the families together on middle ground. And it was a bonus to have Debbie and Chrys arrive when they were all here. We had a great time catching up.

While they were all here, we had another visitor one night - a skunk! He made himself known by what he left behind - his familiar aroma! The only problem is that I couldn't find any kittens at breakfast time! Nary a one! I called and called. Nothing. So I started hunting around, and alas, there they were - safely hiding in a tree! Six of the eleven were all snuggied in the notch of the tree. I strongly prefer our family visitors!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The LAST kittens for Kitty

Kitty apparently got pregnant when her former litter of 3 were 8 weeks old! So this is her LAST litter. Her two daughters (Powder and Sienna) who had 12 kittens between them, already have an appointment with the kitty gynecologist, and Kitty won't be far behind them! NO MORE KITTENS!! Hopefully the ones we keep will hang around and not meet with any coyotes or birds of prey in the nearby area. All three have had very pretty litters since the tuxedo cat has been roaming these parts! He's going to be so disappointed when he next comes a'calling!

Kitty got HUGE!!! She had her kittens the afternoon/evening of July 8th. She'd had 4 by the time I got home from shopping in Graham. Every half hour of so, she'd have another well into the evening!! By 9pm, I think she was done, but there was one little one that didn't make it. The next morning when I went out to count, there were eight! So she birthed NINE!!! I really didn't need so many more!!! All the dark ones are girls and the orange/beige ones are boys - so I have 5 calico girls and 3 boys!
In this picture you can see them all better:
She had them during the heat of the day (105) and panted all the way through labor. The next morning she moved them to the floor of the porch where they sometimes squiggled off in their blind state. So, I moved the box down there to contain them, but she moved them back onto the concrete. I tried to let her be in the garage where it was a little cooler, but she wouldn't leave them in the box and insisted on taking them behind the shelves. As fast as I could return them to the box, she'd move them back to the spot behind the shelves. So I had to ban her from the garage! That meant Mike couldn't open the garage door to work because she'd quickly take advantage of the moment! So we moved to the back porch where Kitty stayed her first winter with us. Still she'd take them out of the box but was otherwise happy with the location. Ultimately she moved them to the only corner I hadn't swept - under the kitchen vent and hemmed in with bags of potting soil and alfalfa pellets, BUT she's happy there, so there they will stay for now!

Enjoy them Little Kitty 'cause there won't be any more!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How does your garden grow?

It's been pretty warm here on the ranch, 100 + or - for the past couple of weeks. The fields and lawn are taking a hit and turning tan out in the open - under the trees it's still green. The garden has it's ups and downs. I water at least once a day and sometimes twice. I come in as soaked as the garden but without benefit of the well water! In spite of the heat and Eeyore in the garden - TWICE, most things are doing pretty good. This is the garden overall: The corn at least produced decent ears, but they're cooked twice by the time they reach our plate. The blackeyed peas (center upper picture, left below) are growing like crazy right now. They're supposed to be 'bush' plants, but have sent out streamers so far, I had to provide something to prop them up!!

This is my best tomato plant at this time (left, below). If I can keep them moist enough, they may produce better when it cools off! Cucumbers (below right) are doing well and we've already had more cucumbers that the whole season last year.

Then over to the vine plants - the Straightneck Yellow Squash is getting ready to start putting out some yummy tender squashes (left) and the Okra is sporting it's first flower (right) about to open and provide us okra for gumbo.

The pumpkin is getting it's first fruit (I had to make it big so you could see it in the upper left corner:
We should be getting canteloupe in the next couple of weeks (left) - the one below is about 5". Watermellon (right) is coming along, some itty-bitty ones just starting, but the one shown is about 4-5 inches :

My salad row is still making lettuce - mostly green leaf lettuce, but a few reds. I planted some 'mesclun mix', but the leaves were so bitter, I won't plant that next year, just variety lettuces and spinach. There are also some carrots mixed in with the lettuce.

Mike's project is coming along well considering he's a one-man construction crew!! He's put down the foundation, the flooring and the framing so far. This structure will store garden items, feed for the chickens and the larger part will be the chicken coup. Most of the work is done between 7:30 and 10 a.m. before the sun is most intense and the heat oppressive.
By 10:00 a.m. you see narry a kitten around because they're all under the porch and they don't come out till late afternoon, early evening!

So goes life on the ranch these days!!!