I Make The List

I just learned that some guy in Gouverneur, NY made a list of 30 outstanding farm blogs for the Gouverneur Times. Hey. That’s cool. Here’s what he had to say: “She writes, she farms, and writes about farming everything that goes wrong and some things that go right. This blogger is an inkslinger (a gunslinger with a pen instead of a gun). Her articles are vivid and you can absolutely picture everything she is talking about. This is one farm blog that you will want to follow.”

Wow. Thanks, Tim.

Unfortunately, now that I’ve made Tim’s list, I may find it hard to stay on it. That’s because this winter has been boring…. blissfully boring. Nothing has died. (Ooops. Not true. Our peacock Ben died, but I’ll write about that later.) Nothing has gotten out of a pen or into a bin of feed (knock on wood). I haven’t fallen on the ice and broken anything (knock on wood.) I only got the car stuck once, and that was in the neighbor’s driveway so I had lots of help getting unstuck.

I’ve been writing like a crazy woman (thanks to two spring deadlines…not the best situation, but a schedule of my own making.) Melissa’s been spending lots of time inside because this winter has been cold. She just finished repairing a retractable extension cord that burned out ten years ago and has been hanging in the shed, useless, for all that time. Nothing makes the Farmer happier than to fix something she’s been unable to use for ten years. I even helped, holding the dangerous steel spring in place so it wouldn’t leap out and slice off one of Melissa’s fingers. (When she’d first opened the case, the 30-foot spring had leapt out like a Jack in the Box, startling even our brave Farmer.)

In addition to such fascinating repairs, we’ve been taking photos. I took some the other day, uploaded them, and found Melissa had taken the exact same shot, only in different light. So here’s what winter looks like out our bedroom window:

And again,

And again.

Every winter I worry about our two barn cats. Will they be warm enough? Could we ignore our allergies and let them into the house, hoping they learn to use the litterbox and avoid the three dogs? No, not practical. So every winter I build a few cozy spots up in the haymow, making little cubby holes by stacking bales, then lining them with wool. I still worry, but when I touch them, their fur might be cold, but their skin is warm.

During the day they are even warmer. In fact, this year they have decided that we purchased huge, 700-pound bales of hay just for their use. They are cats, after all, so everything is about them. Here are Maisie and Pumpkin lolling about on their 700-pound beds. Ahh, the life of a barn cat…

8 thoughts on “

  1. Congrats on making the list! I know I recommend your books to like-minded folks I meet! Love the photos, my parents sent me some of the same a couple of days ago of all the ice on the trees in the yard, beautiful! And that’s probably good that it has been a boring winter, experience has taught me that exciting generally means expensive, LOL! I remember my mom (who hates cats) used to let our barn cats inside for about 15 minutes on extremely cold days, we would see them huddled in the basement window wells, and she would open the door, they would run immediately in front of the fridge where the warm air would blow out, I think they knew if they tried and funny business (like checking out the rest of the house) she would toss them back out! Even though mom hated the barn cats, she knew how valuable they were on the farm! My homesickness for MN has abated a bit this year due to our unusual cold weather and frequent snowfalls this year in VA, and of course your photos help!

  2. Congrats on making the list! I don’t mind that this year has been a relatively “boring” one, you still share plenty of delightful stories.
    The pictures outside your window are awesome! I find myself taking several pictures over time from the same view, then my girls might do the same thing, too. Some kind of sweet spot of photograghy, I suppose.
    I wouldn’t worry too much about those fine looking barn cats, either. I’m sure they love the wool you put out for them. Mine inherited a dog-bed pillow this year, they love it. Also, your picture of Pumpkin looks so much like my daughter’s cat, Mango. Even the attitude! Of course he’s the one cat allowed inside the house, so he knows he’s royalty!
    Thanks for the great writing, but I wish no ill will on your farm just for a story!!!

  3. It is all about the cats, isn’t it? Pumpkin loves winter because he can reach up his paws and knead my legs—I’m wearing insulated Carhartt overalls so I don’t scream. There’s always an adjustment period when spring comes and I’m back to jeans. Yowza, that hurts.

    I love everyone’s barn cat stories!

  4. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation, and at the same time have caused widespread ecological damage and negative human health effects.[3] Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry such as intensive pig farming (and similar practices applied to the chicken) have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal cruelty and the health effects of the antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals commonly used in industrial meat production.

    Yuri Mizyuk

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