Thursday, June 30, 2016


Our neighbor had to go into the hospital for surgery this week, and asked if we would look after his animals. So of course we accepted! We go up to his place to check on his birds- he has a bunch of baby chickens and turkeys, and racing pigeons. They're very cool. The most fun, though, is we have his 4 ducklings staying in our brooder. Our bathtub brooder in our master bath.

You may remember when we got our chickens and they stayed in the bathtub brooder until the coop was finished. And yes, Toby is once again fascinated and highly protective of the babies.

Little whack whacks
We're only watching them until this weekend, but we've already decided that next year, we want to get some ducks. They're awesome. But here's what I've learned about ducklings this week:

1. They are hilarious when it comes to water. They had one of those little chick water things, but they emptied it within minutes every time we filled it and put it in the tub. I put the little litter box in filled with water so they could have supervised swim time, and the first thing they all did was drink a bunch. I suddenly realized that they could get a proper drink from the chick waterer because their bills are too big/work different. So we went to the dollar store and picked up some smallish disposable cake tins. They love it! And yes, they like sitting in it and splashing a bit, but being in the bathtub, that's just fine. We just have to change out their straw occasionally.

2. They grow fast! Yesterday morning one of them was standing as tall as it could trying to reach the mesh over the tub, but was still about an inch too short. This morning they're all chattering away at the mesh! They don't even have to stretch up that much!

3. The sound they make is not as high pitched as the chicks. I'm sure if we had 21 ducklings, the noise would be comparable to the 21 chicks. There are times they are quite loud. However, the peeping sound they make is several octaves lower than the cheeping the chicks made. It doesn't pierce your skull in quite the same way. One of them, the little black duck, is already starting to make little quacking sounds.

The most important thing we've learned, though, is 4. They smell REALLY REALLY BAD! I mean, HORRIBLE! Who would've thought that 4 ducklings would be so much worse than 21 chicks? Honestly, Steve duct taped a screen over the window so we could open it and get some air flow because we thought we were going to pass out from the stink. They're not as dusty as the chicks, but geez they stink! Before we get ducks of our own, we're going to build a duck coop and run that they can go directly into, because there's no way we would last very long with this smell!

We will miss them when they go home this weekend because they are fun to have around. I definitely will not miss they smell, though.

Monday, June 27, 2016


It's been a few weeks since I've updated here, and mainly that's because I just wasn't up to talking about it. We lost our beautiful cat, Asha suddenly. I suspect she'd been sick for a while, but she hid it quite effectively. It still hurts that she's gone, and there are still moments when I look for her.

So fluffy!
Steve got Asha after his first marriage broke up and he was struggling. Her name, Asha, means hope, and that's what he really needed.
She was never really a playful cat, but she was a voracious huntress! After a few birds, Steve put a bell on her. It didn't stop her entirely, though. She still brought birds in on occasion, and lots and lots of bugs!
When I met her, she did not like me! I was the other woman and she let me know she was in charge and Steve was her's! We would sit on the couch at night watching tv, Asha in Steve's lap, and she would growl at me if I tried to snuggle too close to Steve.
Eventually, I won her over and she would lay in my lap and growl at Steve if he tried to displace her.

Living in New Zealand, it rained a lot. She had a cat door that gave her the freedom to come and go as she pleased. When it rained hard, though, she would go out her cat door, get thoroughly soaked, and sit at the glass door in the back and meow at me pitifully. I would then stop what I was doing, get up, let her in, and towel her off while cooing over her. As soon as I was done drying her, she would go straight out the cat door, around the house in the rain, and sit by the back door again meowing at me pitifully. By the third toweling I'd tell her that was enough and if she did it again, she was on her own. So, she'd curl up and go to sleep in my lap.
Sun worshiping
On sunny days, you could always find her just by looking for the softest, sunniest spot.
Getting comfortable is an art. 
And she was always adept at getting really, really comfy!
Reaching through the wall. 
We did a massive building project to our house, and it included effectively cutting one half of the house off from the other. We realized that Asha needed a way to access the whole house, so we put a cat tunnel in one of the walls. When we sold the house, a lot of people thought it was a great idea!
Front door guard. 
Asha thought it was great, too. She had a sunny spot where she could watch the goings on out the front door. It was one of her favorite spots.
Of course, you can't have a black cat without the Halloween reference. She didn't like company, so she wasn't big on trick or treaters, but I think she liked the decorations.
Not quite best buds
When we brought Zack home as a puppy, she was ready to disown us. She eventually tolerated him as long as he was properly afraid of her. Toby was something else entirely. He was never afraid of her, and she eventually ignored him.

She hated the flight from New Zealand to the States. And hated the drive from California to Texas just as much. But she was regal about the changes.
Just keep scratching
As long as she got plenty of hugs and scratches, she could cope with just about anything.
Hunting for lizards
When we bought the farm, she decided she really liked being a farm cat. She never wandered very far; she never had to go far to find lizards to hunt.
"I think I love you."
"Please remove this thing."
When Jynx joined the family, Asha was pretty much resigned to the fact that I bring babies home as often as I can get away with it. It was still a grudging tolerance rather than acceptance, but Jynx doesn't give anyone the opportunity to not love her. Asha was no exception.
So, good-bye my beautiful girl. You will never be forgotten.