22 June 2011


Some of you readers don't know us animals so i thought I'd introduce you to my big brother. That's him. He's bigger than me. He enjoys napping, stealing prey from other cats, waking everyone up at the butt crack of dawn, eating (lots) and getting his head washed by his mommy.

He wouldn't admit it but he's a big fat wussy boy. thankfully, he doesn't stay up late enough to catch me writing this and he never, ever, reads the computer so he'll never know. K?

Cool. I'm chuffed we're on the same page here.

So, I uess you also want to know where he fits in to the family... he's my adoptive bro. he had this really scrappy mama that the pound didn't think was "safe around humans" so they took him and his sister away and gave them to my mama, MamaCat, to raise. He's like glue with her. We all came to the "Fuzzy's" house umpteen years ago with my other real sibs but only us two were COOL enough to stay. People daddy didn't want our mommy to be "put down" (whatever that is- I hear it's REALLY BAD.) so she stayed too.

20 June 2011

The Doctor is In

Well, good golly it's been a long time since i got on this infernal thing! i forgot how warm and cozy it can be. Mmmmmmmmmm

It is nice, dear reader, to see that People Mama has had the courage to put a more than decient banner on the blog for once. I liked the snow one but it's not as good as this banner. I mean, LOOK at me! I am so handsome there, heading out to hunt mice and vole and wildebeest.

I stopped writing, dearest reader, because Mama grounded me for being too direct with Miss Annie, Mr. Fred, and Miss Girlie about my feelings. Stoopid MAMA! She can be soooo mean some times about how us cats work things out.

And we HAVE worked things out.


Fred and I are TIGHT these days. Even Grover likes him now. We pal around and always sleep together in the afternoons when he's around. (Sometimes he goes off for a few days but I'm not allowed to reveal where. pbttht!) he's so cool, he even lets me clean his ears if i want. being a doctor, i know how important it is to maintaining good health. And, really, folks, a cat cannot do a respectable job on the inside by himself. Anyone with a good mother knows this to be true. unfortunately, Fred had a crappy mom who never did that for him so it took a while for him to realize the wisdom of my offers.

Girlie and I have a truce. I ignore her and she ignores me. I sleep on the bed and she has her tower. Only Fred ever gets on that tower. I saw Jack get up there one day and he looked like he'd breached Forth Knox and didn't know what to do with himself. (So he jumped down before anyone could tell on him.)

Annie is still a "little princess." SEE MAMA? I'm *still* controlling my tongue and not calling her the B-word even though you call that stupid mean mama chicken by that word. HUH? HUH? How come *I* can't use that word and YOU can? [Editor's note: I'm the boss and you've got a potty mouth, that's why.] Anyway, I'm practicing being nice to her but she won't play with me. I try to greet her and she hisses and growls, though it's getting better now that I "don't participate" in her "issues." I can lay in my spot on the bed and she can lay in her tower beside it and we can artfully ignore each other. No growling or nothin' Grover is still a p**** though. He gets on the bed and walks across EVERYBODY and threatens to chase Annie so she growls at him still. MamaCat also hasn't learned to "not participate" but she's got kitty PTSD so I think People Mama should go easy on her.

At any rate, Miss Annie isn't home half the time so it doesn't matter what we think of each other. the other day, though, she didn't mind too much when I jumped up beside her to eat some kibbles.... Maybe she secretly loves me?

Anyway, I wanted you to know that even though all you've heard about lately is rain and plants and chickens that us cats are here and doing fine. Daddy didn't mention all the mice we've been catching since the field got cut. It's been GREAT! Man, we catch a mouse a day each if we decide to put half a mind to it. Heck even RUFUS has been catching mice.

Oh, and the chicks, we're cool. Fred is in charge of chick-cat relations and he says they aren't the edible kind so there's nothing to think about with them. besides, they spend most of their time in a cage. :(

18 June 2011

House Chick Update

Two days on and Persimmon is growing very nicely. In hope of having a hen, we have chosen to use feminine pronouns until proven otherwise.

Miss P. enjoys periodic forays to the kitchen or outside with me while I garden. Some of the pussycats are intrigued and the dogs desperately want her to play. Rufus play bows and everything. Right now Persimmon is running around the keyboard 'helping' me write. She'd follow me around everywhere if I let her.

Last evening another chick hatched from an egg I had presumed dead but which Squeaky refused to leave. Squeaky is still a horrible mother and let the poor thing wander off to be beaned by Miss Bett. I must have found it just after it happened because the chick was still crying and not too cold.

I brought it in, cleaned up it's torn skin, and gave it a home in a cage within Persimmon's cage to see if it would revive and live through the night. Remarkably, it has! It is eating and drinking well on its' own. FYI, chicks really dig sugar water. (They do a little head wriggle when something new is especially wonderful.) She is getting Chick Quick and OTC doxycycline in her water to keep infection at bay. Please cross your fingers and say your prayers that she makes it.

So, now we have TWO chicks living in the house. This new one is a bantam Cochin x Dominique with classic female markings: dark legs and a tight white spot on her head. Any suggestions for naming this one? She's only got one operable eye and will never have feathers on her cheeks.

P.S. In an unrelated development, the farm has received nearly half an inch of rain over the last two days! Hurrah!!!

16 June 2011

Meet Your New Brother

That's right, there's been a new addition to the Stratheden Farm Family.

The pussycat is Fred Tweedle, one of the kittens born two years ago. He's a real lover when he decides to hang out at home. Chet (up on the banner) and us humans like to call him Chet Jr. as Dr. Chetworth took him under his proverbial wing and taught Fred "everything he knows." (To quote that good doctor...)

Now it seems to be Fred's turn to take a young'un under his own "wing."

Fred is still not entirely sure he wants the Chicken Uncle gig but he checks on Persimmon when he passes through the dining room and is quite happy to allow the little one to snuggle up under his arm or neck.

Little Persimmon (gender unknown) was the sole survivor when one of our little hens abandoned her chicks to set on eggs only a few hours after they'd hatched. This one had a lot of trouble hatching as it's mama was a bantam and it's papa wasn't... s/he filled the egg so completely that s/he couldn't maneuver inside. Mrs. Fuzzy had to help by picking away part of the shell until Persimmon could unfold a leg and push out.

If you have ever heard that the first creature a bird sees upon hatching is the one they imprint upon it is true! Persimmon follows Mrs. Fuzzy around the garden and chicken-howls if, upon awakening, Mrs. Fuzzy is not present.

Rufus & Grover are madly jealous... the rest of the indoor clan don't give a whit about the new one.

making hay whilst the sun shines

Its that time of year- the hay is at full maturity and the weather has been largely dry = time to bale. Look at that deep blue sky - clean air in this part of paradise.

13 June 2011


Mrs. Fuzzy got her garden in before the onslaught of the monsoon that was late April and most of May. It rained a little, generally no much, almost every day. The ground was thoroughly saturated and could not be worked by the tiller we acquired... so as the days went on, Mr. Fuzzy got nervous about planting too late and worked his garden entirely with a grubbing hoe... he has used this hoe for two years now and is convinced it is the best general purpose garden hoe available - certainly nothing else can penetrate the heavy compacted clay soil at Stratheden.

After the monsoon ceased, Mr. Fuzzy planted his seeds and waited... and the rains went all around but not here. Finally on Sunday the clouds dropped about 0.28 inches, and all of the sudden the stressed sprouts gained vigour and size. Oh, so thankful for that rainfall.

As an experiment, there are three long rows and six small mounds (in the Cherokee mode). Germination has been very uneven; the Hopi rattle gourds and the Alcalde chile were both reseeded after zero germination. An heirloom corn, "Cajun," on the other hand jumped right up in just four days and the Silver Queen corn seems to be doing well (see photo). The Hale's muskmelons are sprouting well as are the Black Wax beans. But the "Blood" beans which emerged in just four days last summer (to be devoured by the deer) are not germinating at all.

Today was a bench mark on the farm for the year - when the hay is mowed. The warm dry days should dessicate the cut hay quickly and be ready for baling in a couple of days.

Around the farm hoos, some daylilies are at their glorious peak while others have yet to bloom - but the number of buds promises a riot of color from those in a few days.

Life is good here.

11 June 2011

Knee High By The....

...Fourth of June?

Yep.... the first planting of corn is already knee high! I started it in peat pellets because I wanted to be certain that all of our miniscule supply of Country Gentleman would germinate. (36 seeds) Mr Fuzzy laughed at me for doing this but has since apologized after learning it's a fairly common practice around here, where the growing season can be a bit short.

As you can see, they are planted in a small block on top of a collapsed compost heap. My experimental hypothesis is that corn likes a nitrogen rich environment so, like squashes, they should do especially well there.... provided they don't fall over due to an insecure footing!

We'll see...

There are a pair of cucumber vines planted with the corn and, in the foreground, you can see the zucchinis that were started at the same time. I have no idea what's wrong with the one on the left. It probably won't make it.

Earlier this week I planted my second block of corn, seeds gifted to us by our friend Momfeather, and simply labeled "OLD NDN CORN FROM NC." There were 45 seeds, enough to plant a 4 x 5 block of paired seedlings. These are in another row that has just a thin (4" finished) layer of composted-in-place coffee grounds and chicken litter. I'll plant some pole beans with them next week, once the corn's roots are starting to reestablish.

For those of you who don't believe me on the height... here's is proof. Pasty white leg, granny garden dress, and all!

05 June 2011

lots of green

The Fuzzies have not forgotten their friends stranded in parched New Mexico and Arizona. According to the National Weather Service, Albuquerque and Clovis have had less than half an inch of rain this year. And with the huge forest fires raging in Arizona, the ash and smoke clouds are blanketing much of New Mexico.

As a visual respite, the Fuzzies attach recent photographs taken around the farm house here at Stratheden. If it was possible, Mr. Fuzzy would also attach a scratch & sniff app so that you can smell the exquisite perfume of the wild honeysuckle now in bloom all over Floyd county. Maybe by next year...

N.B.: that is fog rising, not smoke!

02 June 2011

the Raid at Martin's Station

Mr. Fuzzy is not insensitive to our readers (both of them) becoming bored with nothing other than farm tidbits posted herein. He has, therefore, decided to post a bit about the Fuzzys' prior life - in the 1770s frontier of Virginia.

The occurs semi-annually, a marvelous event at the gem of Virginia's state parks: Wilderness Road State Historic Park, out in the far tail of Virginia, is home to the re-created Martin's Station, a frontier fort of the 1770s. It is in as beautiful a setting as can be imagined, in a deep valley, bordered by the mountains, and the famous Cumberland Gap visible just a few miles away. In May, Senior Ranger Billy Heck and his staff organize "The Raid" which has become perhaps the premier event of its kind in the American South. The Raid re-enacts the Cherokee attack on the Station in 1775. Their other major event is the October encampment which is smaller and does not contain the battle scenarios of the May event.

Besides the raid itself, there is the modern and well-done visitor's center, hiking, and with all of the vendors at these two events, a colonial trade fair. If you look on a map to find the park, it is obvious that is is still remote from civilization, especially on the Virgina/Tennessee side, yet the raid draws thousands of spectators in addition to those participating as frontiersmen or Native Americans. Two battles are held, one in the early afternoon and one at twilight. The latter highlights the flashes from the flintlock rifles and artillery to great effect.