3-29-12 – Crooked Acres Thursday

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Sights from around Crooked Acres.

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These pups REALLY like their daily snack. (That’s Gracie on the left, George on the right.)

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Okay, yeah. There’s fresh water in your water bowls, but you’d rather drink from the pond. Tasty, is it? Rumor has it it’s going to get tastier…

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I’m so glad that pond finally filled up. We were worried there for a while!

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(A few people have asked and yes, the pond will attract mosquitoes. The dogs are on a heart worm preventative, of course.)

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She believes she can fly.

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She believes she can touch the sky-y.

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She thinks about it every night and day.

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Spreads her wings and flies away.

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Then she hits the ground and is like “Wait. I’m a CHICKEN. I can’t FLY. Hmph.”

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“Stupid R. Kelly.”

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Whenever we go out to the pond, the chickens follow behind in hopes that we’ve got something good for them.

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So, a few weeks ago, Fred noticed that we’ve got tadpoles in the pond.

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A LOT of them. I’m not kidding when I tell you that there are thousands of them. You walk along the shore, and they flit away in droves. Fred was like “We are going to have a plague of frogs out there.”

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I was like “Well, what are we going to DO?” Fred said, “We need to get some cats. A LOT of cats. Like, 200 of them!”

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So we did. (Those are catfish, in case you’ve never seen them.)

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We got 100 4-6″ catfish, and 100 6-8″ catfish.

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The fish truck came to our local Co-op, so Fred took half a day off work to go pick up our order. They were in tanks, and the guys dipped them up and put them in big bags and then tied them shut. We brought them straight home and took them out to the pond.

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Hopefully they’ll eat some of those tadpoles. We’re also feeding them catfish food, but it’s only been a few days, they haven’t quite gotten the hang of the idea that people bring food. In a year or two, Fred will be a fishing fool and we’ll start eating them.

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This is what Gracie thought about those catfish.

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Mr. Bluebird sure does make me happy.

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And Mr. Cardinal certainly has himself some Kramer hair, doesn’t he?

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The Azaleas are in bloom.

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As is the Spirea (I love love love it when the Spirea is in bloom.)

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Why on earth does Fred keep snuffling and sneezing and rubbing his eyes? It’s a mystery.

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A big black Tom has recently started showing up and eating out of the food bowls on the side and front porch. We need to get him trapped so we can have him neutered, but he is absolutely terrified of people and takes off the instant he sees us. We’re trying to lure him into a daily schedule but aren’t having much luck. We’ll keep trying, of course.

I recently left the game cam on the front porch and caught some interesting stuff. I’m saving that for next week!

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You guys, these kittens are killing me. They’re climbing up in my lap, they’re letting me pet them (they’re not sure about this kissing stuff yet), they’re play-fighting with my feet. I’m doing my best not to squoosh them, but it’s taking superhuman strength!

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“Wahhhhhhh! I’m da BAYbee!”

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“Hallo, Mama. It time to eat?”

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Logie is totally like “Where AM I?”

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Someone apparently heard SOMEthing disturbing. “What you MEAN we all have different fathers?!”

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Oh, the spotted belleh.

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“Gee, your foot smells terrific!”

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They’re such rude little brats, and she totally puts up with them.

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I hear Lenny and Squiggy saying “Hallo!” in my head when I look at this picture.

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“This foot is tasty!”

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Emmy’s all “Oh, thank god. YES, go sniff her foot. Sniff it all night long, just let me sleep a little bit…Zzzzz…”

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2012-03-29 (35)
In the Joe Bob coop, no one sniffs annoyingly at him. (That smile on his face just kills me. He is SUCH a happy boy.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

2011: “There are no other cats. There is only Maggie.”
2010: “That’s right, I done it, copper. I done it, and I’d do it again. I was loopy on catnip, no judge in the world is going to convict me. They’ll send me to rehab, I’ll come out clean and UNREPENTANT. So get out those cuffs and slap ‘em on, I AIN’T SCARED.”
2009: (I like to think that maybe someone who lives down the road was sitting in front of their TV and was struck with the sudden urge to grab the camera and go upstairs, and that they said “But I don’t HAVE an upstairs!”)
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-29-12 – Crooked Acres Thursday — 47 Comments

  1. Hi Robyn, I just recently discovered your blog, and I’ve got about a year left before I’m all caught up on the archives. While I love all the cute pictures of kitties, I find your blog just so informative! I’ve always wanted to foster kitties, but our two babies (unbeknownst to us but definitely knownst to the adoption agency before we got them *gripegripegripe*) have ocular herpes and I just don’t feel comfortable bringing other kitties in the house (thankfully our first cat never got it.)

    My friends back home have been occasionally letting in a stray cat, who we now know is preggers. Mr. Friend is allergic to cats, but the real reason “Sunny” doesn’t stay inside is 1) she doesn’t seem to like it for more than a few hours at a time, and 2) she is not litter box trained. In reading your blog I wonder if it may just be worms or another thing that comes with being an outdoor cat, but I’m definitely a little confused. I sort of assumed that all cats just got the hang of using the litter box, it seems like your bottle babies do okay without a mommy to show them how; but I’m wondering if you, or any of your other readers, have had to litter train a cat? Sunny looks to me to be around 2-3 years old (I haven’t gotten to check her teeth, just cell phone pics) and ideally they’d like for her to stay inside and have the babies in a safe environment (and not get knocked up again before we can have her spayed) – but since both of my friends work and have a rented, carpeted apartment, keeping her in without using the litter box just isn’t an option. Anyone have any advice? They live in an area where there are NO no-kill shelters, no real network of fosters, no TNR, not even any good low fee spay options (but I’m putting my foot down on that, regardless of cost, we will have no more alley babies from Sunny.

    • Hi Jessica! I’ll post your question in tomorrow’s post so that others can jump in and give some advice (and they’ll probably do that in the comments today as well), but just off the top of my head, your friends may want to try different types of litter boxes (mostly what I’m thinking is that if they’re using a covered litter box, she might not like it. And if they aren’t using a covered litter box, she might prefer that!), and I highly recommend giving Cat Attract litter a try. In my experience, most cats do take to the litter box pretty much out of instinct, so I’m not sure what’s going on with Sunny.

    • cats have a very short window of learning in their life. Usually starts closing around six months.. so anything introduced after a year or so will be so foreign as to not be understood. Why should I go in this box with this stuff when I’ve always gone in the dirt and that has worked for me up till now.. it smells different and odd, so I’ll go over here – or wait till I go out.. sort of thinking.

      Cat attract is said to help, and a lot of people have had great success with it. Putting dirt in your litter box will help it smell right to the cat and might also help (you can start with some sprinkled over the top of the litter then just not add any more as you scoop it out so she isn’t going in ‘dirt’ but litter that smells like dirt)

      Make sure the litter box is big enough.. you want something that is double her size laying down. cats in the wild (and in general) do not pee and poop in the same spot and usually are at least six inches apart from each other (I know, weird hun? I was floored when I read that bit of research, not only that it is what it is, but that someone studied it) so the bigger the box the better. The more boxes the better too.

      Litter matters as well. Unscented is probably really important here, because outside none of the ground smelt like artificial flowers or the such. try clay, try scoopable.. some cats have a very strong preference.

      I found to retrain to a litter box, the smaller the area they have the better. Cats are VERY clean animals, and don’t want to poop where their food is, and don’t want to do it where they sleep, so if that is all the space they have, they start using the box despite what ever miss givings they have about it. You don’t need to keep the space small for long, just a few days to establish routine and if compliance changes after you give more space, reduce the amount of space again.. it isn’t a punishment, simply working with their natural instincts, so give lots of praise and love and food for any behavior you want to enforce. (yea! great job sniffing that box.. go give it a shot.. you can pee in the box it is nothing.. and yes you’ll feel silly, but I am always surprised by how well it works) I find it also helps if you explain things to the cat in simple terms – like you might to a young child. this also feels silly, but I have more examples of ‘goodness i can’t believe that worked’ to discount it.

      • Heehee… so true, on the “I can’t believe it worked!” Sometimes I’m astounded by how the oddest/simplest solutions work. As Doodle Bean said, hole in one, Miz Connie!

  2. Love all the pictures! I think the catfish will also eat mosquito larva….not 100% sure though. There are tablets you can add to fountains, ponds and such to control them if need be (you would need to read the lable to insure it would not hurt any other animal).

    Good luck with catching the black Tom.

    • I’m hoping that between the frogs and the catfish, the mosquitoes won’t be a problem, but if they are we’ll definitely check out the tablets. 🙂

  3. Hope Sooty gets caught safely soon!
    And i love spirea too did you know it’s also called Bridal wreath?

  4. Lenny and Squiggy! *Snorts* Now, don’t be tempted to slick back those babies’ hair…funny picture though it would be!

    I think the Joe Bob coop looks very comfy and I would curl up in there with him in a heart beat (but no sniffing!)!

    Pond-raised catfish – yumm! I’m not really a fish eater, but I do love me some fried catfish nuggets!!

  5. Logie is totally like “Where AM I?” and Emmy is totally like “DON’T you dare tell her where I am!” She is an absolutely incredible mama, but I would think that parenting a set of quadruplets with razor sharp claws could be wearing at times.

    So now we know why Joe Bob has social interaction issues with the other cats… he’s actually part chicken!

    Today’s ear-worm: “I believe I can fly”. My brain is also fumbling around with the “Old lady who swallowed a fly” using mosquitoes, tadpoles, catfish, chickens, cats, and dogs. I’ve picked a terrible day to go caffeine free.

    • No, Kelly, nooooo! Don’t go caffeine free! Why would you ever do such a thing? You’re supposed to put it off “’til Monday”, and then when Monday rolls around, you say “Um, no. It’s Monday, I need my caffeine!” 🙂

      • Not really trying to give up all caffeine, just cut down and get rid of my ridiculous addiction to diet coke. I had a half-cup of coffee in your honor. My brain is now wide awake. Too bad it’s going on midnight here in the eastern time zone. 😉

  6. Looking at that big ball of tadpoles for some reason reminds me of that old Beyond the Fringe skit: The Frog and Peach. Also known as the Peach and Frog.

    Wondering what else will spontaneously appear in the pool. Turtles? Is it suitable for trout? That might be worth checking out at the extension office.

    • I expect turtles will show up sooner or later – but I don’t know about bass. I’m not sure there’s going to be room for them with all those catfish!

  7. Thank you again for posting about Red and Scuse! I’ve had a few folks say they know someone who might take them, but no definite offers yet. Poor boys.

    Dragonfly larvae are voracious little predators who love mosquito larvae (the feeling is not mutual). Purple martins (day squad) and bats (night squad) are also amazing at devouring adult mosquitoes, and you can put up houses to encourage them. I also think catfish are just wonderful- I used to live near a pond full of them, and when I’d feed them fish food pellets, they’d swarm up so thick you could pet the ones at the top. Good luck with controlling the little biters, and isn’t it nice that the things that eat them are generally good to have around?

    • Oh, I have GOT to get some bat houses. I love to watch them swooping through the air at twilight, I want to encourage them to show up.

      I’ve seen several dragonflies swooping over the pond recently – we need to get some stuff planted out there for them to land on. I love dragonflies as much as I love bats. 🙂

      • I’m glad someone brought up purple martins, bats and dragonflies because those will be your best bets for mosquito control (and setting up your own little ecosystem!).

        I wanted to put a word in for frogs and toads because they are becoming increasingly scarce all over the world, including in the U.S. Catfish are not.

        I know the catfish are going to be food source for you, but I’d love to see you increase the chances that some tadpoles will survive by planting some water plants That way they have a place to hide from the catfish. You’d be doing some species a huge favor and, who knows, maybe you could try some frog legs. They’re quite good, you know!

        It’s your pond, so don’t let me boss you around! It would just be a nice thing for the amphibians.

        • Oh, I’m planning to get some water plants in place – that’s definitely in the plans, I just have to actually get it done. I love frogs, just not, y’know, thousands of them. 🙂

          Believe it or not, I’ve actually had frog legs. I wouldn’t want them at every meal (well, I guess I could say that about just about any food I like), but I thought they were pretty tasty!

  8. Is it wrong that I fell a little bit for Fred when you said he said you should get 100 cats.. ?? 🙂

    and you have flowers.. and we are getting SNOW! forgoodnessakes… (and yes this time of year it is not snow, it is SNOW!! and all the grumpy words that implies)

    and what is it with eau de foot anyway? I swear it is better then catnip..

    • They spend a lot of time sniffing Emmy’s feet, too. I know that cats have glands – don’t they? – on the bottom of their feet. Maybe humans do, too!

  9. Of course I love the sweet and sassy kitties, but I also love George and Gracie! Their smiles make me happy. I think I mentioned this before, but I have a Great Pyrenees/blue heeler mix. He’s ‘normous. He has the size of a Pyr but the markings of a blue heeler. Rescue puppy from the SPCA. ♥

    So, I know that Pyrs are great herding dogs, but I’ve never seen any livestock on Crooked Acres, so do George and Gracie herd the ducks and chickens? 🙂

    • If they see a threat, they will actually herd the chickens back toward safety! They like to herd the humans, too, all two of us. Mostly, though, they seem to spend a lot of time herding their eyelids toward sleepytime. 🙂

  10. Thanks as always for the lovely sights around Crooked Acres, and the overwhelming kitten cuteness…such little monkeys!

    We have a smallish pond that shrinks when we don’t get much rain, and it gets loaded with tadpoles in the spring, to where there are black ‘clouds’ of them. The only thing that really crowds out are American toads, teeny ones, and we don’t see that many adult toads for the number of babies that come up from there (it can be hard to walk in the yard without stepping on them for a week or two)…so there’s a pretty small survival rate for the number of tadpoles that you do see. Herons love them, too! Pretty sure you’ll have bullfrogs before long…we haven’t had any stick around since the first time the pond dried up, just the green frogs and leopard frogs, and of course the spring peepers that are always here in March!

    • We can actually hear one bullfrog out there in the evenings! The big news around here is that yesterday the ducks “discovered” the tadpoles and kept going out to the pond and had themselves a feast. Between the ducks and the catfish, I’m hoping that the frog population is a small but decent one. They’ll be the strongest ones, though, I suppose – survival of the fittest and all. 🙂

    • Oh, I think we didn’t need quite that many, but I didn’t realize Fred was ordering so many. I thought 50, MAYBE 100. 200 might be overkill, we’ll see!

      That picture is adorable, Jess. 🙂

  11. Wow, I love these photos — as usual. You know, if you put a bunch together into a book and made it a fundraiser for Challenger’s House, you’d sell tons, I bet! Have you ever thought about that? Hmm, maybe you have and I shall soon be called a SKIMMER. Or a page-a-day calendar would be awesome — but I bet that costs a lot to print.

    • I have thought about it – but then I think about having to go through all those pictures, and my brain recoils in horror. 🙂 I would LURVE to have a page-a-day calendar, I’ll admit. I may look into that, but I think you’re right, it’s probably really expensive to print. How are your stapling skills? 😀

      • Ha!

        Papa Peppers is a much better name than Blockhead. I imagine that the real Papa Peppers is up in Tennessee (they came from up there), but well – it HAS been several months. Maybe he’s finally tracked ’em down. 🙂

  12. To train an adult cat to use a litter box, one that doesn’t figure it out right away; put kitty in a very small space like an otherwise totally clean and towel free bathroom, walk in closet (without anything in it) etc. This not anything it is very important,because cats will often pull down something soft and toilet on it, especially if they are used to just doing their business “away” from where they are eating and sleeping.

    Given a choice, most cats will not foul near their place of eating and sleeping; and they naturally prefer some place they can dig and cover their eliminations. So, locked in a small room (or even kennel cage) with food, water, blankie, toys and a litter box; most will use the litter box. If they small room doesn’t work, a kennel cage with no blankie or soft bedding usually well. It may seem cruel, but you can take kitty out and play with her, hand toys from the roof of the cage, give her nice food ets. It is only for a few days until she gets the litter box idea. A stuffed toy can provide a soft sleeping friend, without seeming like an inviting towel to pee on. Once kitty is using the OPEN box in the kennel cage, move to the small room and see if the behavior continues – if possible, pick the room the litter box (or a litter box) can stay in. Once cat is using the box, experiment letting out of the room.

    Caution, a totally untrained domestic cat, is simply more like to have accidents than one raised to a litter box from a few weeks old. But you can really cut down on the issue by trying the kennel cage/small room/open box trick. In my experience, former ferals almost never take to covered boxes and remain terrified of the “horrible cat eating box” all their lives; and of those that do adapt to covered boxes, I have yet to have one that would accept a door – to much like a cat trap!

    Good luck, not an impossible task, just a challenging one.

  13. Yes, please keep us updated on the Tom. Do you ever feed your cats outside? We have 2 outside cats that REFUSE to come in. So, we feed them outside & try to pick up the food quick, quick. But we still managed to ‘collect’ 2 feral Toms. We’ll TNR the toms & we’re happy to feed them, in their own corner with their own plates. But we can’t figure out how to get them to stop bugging our cats. 1 feral will even ignore the food & chase our neutered female cats across the back yard instead. So, I’ll neuter everyone but still wondering if it will stop the aggression.
    Thank you for the wonderful kitty pics. I really enjoy them because I know we won’t be having any more furbabies over here….ever!

    • We do have food outside for the outside cats, and we actually don’t take it up (as we should). Really, you’d think we’d have more strays showing up than we do. Maxi is so fierce that any stray who wanders across the property KNOWS who’s in charge. Hopefully neutering will help with the aggressive males, I think that it should.

  14. Ok, I’m self proclaimed NOT a dog person, yet I love George and Gracie. And I find it totally weird that I knew which one was Gracie before I read you pointing it out! Shocking!

    200 cats?? Fred is a crazy cat(fish) man!

    “Hallo” I’m dying here!

    Oh Joe Bob!! I think we discovered the scent that the other cats find so offensive… I think I know what your cologne is! Ode De Chickenshit is NOT the best scent for making friends..

  15. C’mon people! Surely we all know someone in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, D.C. and West Virginia who needs a Pirate and a Panther, right?

    Well, I don’t, but I’m special!

    Spread the word and let’s find a home for these deserving and adorable kittehs!

    (Believe me, I’d rent a car, drive down there and snatch them up in a heartbeat if I wasn’t at my limit of two. Damn my landlord… well, no. He’s probably the only thing which stands between me and becoming one of those animal hoarders!!)

  16. FB’d and posted the boys last night. If two tell two, who tell two…

    OK, died laughing over the “What do you mean….?” pic. Another ICHC worthy pic and caption.

    • Thanks for spreading the word! All it takes is one person to see ’em and fall in love. 🙂 And I’m glad to see you back and blogging, Lisa!

  17. He may hiss at me from time to time, but the camera loves Joe Bob. This is my favorite picture of that people lover ever! (Let’s face it, a photogenic feline like me can afford to be generous…) Signed, Il Corbione