Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saul's pedicure

Poor Saul! He was overdue for a hoof trim and at his last home, I think they were only done about once a year. They were a bit long when we got him but I was waiting for him to settle in a bit before we got the farrier in. My farrier agreed to trim his hooves but as Saul had required sedation in the past for this, we had the vet in to sedate him for his first hoof trim with us.

Our friend Luc helped hold dozy Saul while my fantastic farrier Steve worked his magic.

Saul was very stoned and a super good boy. Next time I think we'll try it without drugs. The poor fellow has thrush in all four feet, so I have some stuff to apply on that every other day. That will get him used to having his feet handled!

I'm sure he's feeling much better now that his feet are sorted out. Our farrier Steve Doré is wonderful. We were very lucky that he took us on, as he has a full schedule. He has a magical way with the ponies and donkey, and they are all very relaxed around him. A very kind man who clearly loves equines and knows what he's doing. He'll be back in 4 to 6 weeks to work on Saul again and do the ponies' regular trim as well.

We have the best donkey in the world!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Get a room, you two!

So I walked in on this yesterday...

Archie and Daisy in... some kind of sleepy embrace!

While these two are both from Syros, Greece, and both were abandoned at the same dump, they didn't meet until they were both living with me in Canada.

Daisy's idea of kissing involves biting her man-friend's skull.

Archie didn't seem to mind.

Daisy is a solid girl. Her nicknames are now Double-wide and Draught-stop. All said in love!

 Speaking of love...

Archie is starting to look alarmed.

Yep! He's had enough.

Daisy later fell asleep with her head on my arm. 

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Barn" cats and a birthday!

"Barn" cats, what a joke...


Daisy has been showing ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST in going outside lately!!

She's a big fan of da belly rubz!

"Who, me?" YES, YOU!

There were ten cats inside at suppertime tonight. TEN.


Daisy isn't going anywhere.

Archie did spend some time outside today. This was him yesterday. We washed the sheets after the mouse-tail debacle, and folded the duvet up on the bed.

This was very appealing to Naomi and Archie!

Poor Naomi, Archie has taken to sleeping cuddled up to my chest, which is where Naomi always sleeps! (I sleep on my side.) So she has been moving up towards my neck/head area, but I think really she's appalled at this interloper.

Meanwhile, George the duck just celebrated his second birthday! You can read George's story here. George's best human buddy Bethany has been helping me out at the farm this summer! Not only is she a hard working teen and great to have around, George is clearly happy to see her too. It's nice that he and Honey have some quality time with her. Anyway, Bethany let me know when George's birthday was (July 15.) I asked her what she did to celebrate last year, and she said he got a bowl of popcorn and some cherry tomatoes. 

We were out of cherry tomatoes, but the popcorn we could do...

At first, George was terrified of the big colander! (And I wondered if my good colander would ever make it back from the barn!)

But he was brave....

...and was soon chowing down!

Pip came over to have some as well.

Happy birthday, George!

And kitty cat #16 is still hanging around. He's eating the kibble I put out for him every night. I'm hoping he'll get friendly with me so I don't have to live-trap him for a vet visit.

Hope you all had  good weekend. I'm trying to do more blogging. I've been pathetic the last several months and I miss it.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

That is not a blade of grass...

Gordon found this between us on the sheets this morning...

No, that's not a blade of grass.

It's a MOUSE TAIL!!!


Even I, the un-squeamish one, screamed at this. Then Gordon and I both searched under the sheets to make sure there were no other mouse parts with us (there weren't!)

I supposed I shouldn't be entirely surprised, given that we had four or five cats sleeping on the bed with us last night and several of them go on killing sprees in the basement. But really, I never expected to find body parts not even ON my bed but IN my bed!!!! 

Louise was sleeping between us last night... is she the culprit? It was all very "horse head in the bed" Godfather-esque.

Of course, the cats don't always bring us body parts. Take Honey, for example.

The other day, she brought a kitchen sponge to my mat while I was doing yoga!

I wonder if that's more fun to kill than a mouse? I doubt it.

Archie and Annuk plead innocence.

Do those look like the faces of cats who would leave a tail in your  bed?

Oh wait...

Here's Archie with a shrew he took out!

Daisy and Missy were VERY interested in his "toy"!

Then Mootie and Emerson came to check things out.

Archie didn't seem to mind sharing!

Excuse me, I have to go burn my sheets now... ;)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Meanwhile, in the land of geriatric ducks...

Lenny had another warm bath yesterday!

He enjoyed drying out in the sun.

And oh look, still more donkey selfies...

He does have the velvety-est nose EVER!

My knickers are in a twist...

Get comfy. I have a lot to say. Or just quit reading when you're bored!

So today on Twitter, I got my first-ever nasty Tweet!

I'm so proud!

I had merely tweeted some photos of our wildflower fields. They were very pretty last night:

The Snot-rag who replied to me only knows about my lawyer hubby because I mention in my Twitter profile that I live on a farm with my hubby @gsclawfirm. Which I do. And I love him, even if he is a lawyer!

At first I had to share her tweet with my Facebook friends, because I wasn't even sure if she was being snarky. I mean, really: wildflowers inspiring vitriol? WTF? But they all agreed that she was indeed being a jerk, which was my sense as well.

Now this woman doesn't follow me on Twitter, but the Ontario Beekeeping Association does, and they retweeted my initial tweet, and that is one the woman (here in referred to as Ms. Snot-rag) replied to.

I'm not entirely sure of her bias, except that she lives in Alberta and has a lot of farm/farmer-related tweets in her feed. So I'm guessing she likes farmers. (I do too, mostly!) 

My suspicions/observations are as follows:

(1) She hates lawyers (fair enough! I hate some of them too!)

(2) She makes a lot of presumptions about people she knows nothing about.

(3) She thinks that because 21 of our 86 acres are planted in wildflowers/native grasses as bird/pollinator habitat, that we aren't real farmers, aren't earning a living off our land, and can only afford to do that because my husband is a filthy-rich-greedy-bastard-of-a-moneybags lawyer! (Okay, I freely admit that we're not farmers! So what? Does that mean we can't live on a farm and do what we want with it? We pay the mortgage on it!)

(4) She's got some bass-ackwards ideas about women, because she presumes that I do nothing to earn an income. Uh, I am a graphic designer, an artist, a beekeeper, a writer, and I even supported Mr. Moneybags for a year when we were first starting out! Oh yeah, and I care for seventy billion rescue animals, or at least it feels like that some days.

(5) I do wonder if she someone who is taking sides in the neonicotinoid debates going on involving farmers and beekeepers. It's clear in my Twitter profile that I keep bees. I also say I live on an 86-acre pet farm. Regardless, apparently she feels free to shower sarcasm on me because I am not out on a tractor all day spraying soybeans with Roundup.

Ontario is planning on curbing the use of neonicotinoids soon and the result of that seems to be an unfortunate pitting of farmers against beekeepers. Which is ridiculous. I know plenty of farmers who keep bees. I also know plenty of farmers who would be screwed without pollinators.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario are taking the government to court over the whole thing and have made some frankly snotty comments about beekeepers and have threatened to spray foliage instead.

WHATever. Threats and nonsense and meanwhile, pollinators are dying everywhere. It just makes me sad that this is turning ugly, farmers vs beekeepers, and I suspect Ms. Snot-rag's tweet is a reflection of that, since she specifically picked up on the retweet by the OBA. On the other hand, maybe she knows I was born in downtown Toronto and hates me for that, too! :)

And  I am sad that I lost hives this winter for the first time in the past six years and had several queen failures this spring. And if you think fields of soybeans support any kind of life, go stand in our soybean field (yes, we rent out 50 acres to a very nice farmer who plants some of it in soybeans!) then go stand in our wildflower field and tell me which field is filled with birds and insects (hint: no tofu comes from that field.)

So here's what I would have liked to say to Ms. Snot-rag, had I more than 140 characters:

(1) We can afford to keep 21 acres in wildflowers because we both work, we've both earned everything we own (none of it was handed to us), we rent out some of our land, and because a solar farm had to do a bird habitat project to make up for land THEY took out of production, so they paid for the seeds planted AND they pay us rent on the land AND Ducks Unlimited and the local conservation authority helped with the project and are maintaining the land! (Mowing or controlled burn every three years.) They also come to do bird counts here. 

And we live in a part of Ontario where farms and farmland are still affordable for the average person. So you don't need to be married to a lawyer to have 21 acres in wildflowers! For the record, I know it's hard to believe, but not all lawyers are filthy rich! Not all lawyers are even assholes! I certainly am not complaining, of course. We just spend a ridiculous amount of our income on cat kibble, dog food, animals feed and vet care! But doo I LOOK like Eva Gabor?!

(2) It's incredibly insulting to presume that because someone has another job, he/she can't be a farmer too. We are not farmers. We don't claim to be! However I know PLENTY, and I do mean PLENTY of actual farmers around here who work their farms AND hold off-farm jobs. In fact, one of the biggest farm families I know not only farms many, many acres, they also run a cabinet-making business to supplement their income (and do beautiful work!) Wait, does that mean they aren't farmers? Does that mean they are not making a living off their land?! Are they lucky they are cabinet-makers so they can plant 2,000 acres of soybeans, wheat, corn and alfalfa?!

Hang on... although I said I'm not a farmer, I AM a beekeeper and my bees work those fields, and I earn money from those bees. So screw it, I'm a farmer! Yes!

At the end of the day, the thing that irks me most about this is the rudeness of some people on the internet. It's like driving a car through Toronto and giving someone the finger when they cut you off (who, me?! NEVER!) You feel all safe and anonymous in your car, free to let the assholery fly! It's the same on the internet. Sitting behind the screen all anonymous-like and sipping your coffee, you feel free to be rude and presumptive and say things to people you don't know as if you did know them. The whole world would be a better place if people thought twice before they opened their mouths or typed on their keyboard, and were just plain KIND and POLITE.

The sort of crap is the reason I can't bring myself to read online comments anymore (apart from on blogs!) They are invariably filled with bigotry, misogyny and ignorance and cater to the lowest common denominator.

Btw, I have plenty of admiration for farmers. Some of my best conversations are with the farmer who rents our land. I think they work hard. Why can't we all just get along? Are the Japanese really suffering because we took 21 acres out of soybeans destined to become tofu?

And that is the end of today's rant! If you want to know more about our Bobolink/Meadowlark habitat, here are links to previous posts:

PS: Ms. Snot-rag, in your Twitter profile you claim to be a writer. May I suggest a refresher course in the proper use of apostrophes?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's all for the cats...

I got Gordon a new t-shirt...

...but "cat" needs an "s"! Bahahahahha!

Meanwhile, on our bed the other night...

Alex was blissfully ignoring the shenanigans behind him (Archie sucking up to fellow Greek, Daisy!)

Daisy is a LOVELY cat. And as you can see, she is spending time in our house now. And on our bed.

She's a real sweetheart.

This photo does not do justice to her, er, girth. She is quite the little couch potato. It's amazing how much more "well-padded" she is than her sisters Honey and Daisy!

And she's sweet to everyone...

Here she is visiting Pip!

Speaking of Pip...

... she took ownership of our gardener Shawn's hat today!

Then Mootie joined in.

I asked Shawn if he'd been rolling in the catnip patch!

Pip was sad when the hat disappeared!

And here's Buttercup...

... she spends huge amounts of her time catching vermin in the barn. She's an incredible mouser/ratter! Very serious about her job. And very beautiful!

And here's another orange cat...

...Emerson and Saul really do seem to love each other. It's adorable. They will spend ages nuzzling each other and although Saul still enjoys chasing cats, he doesn't do it to Emerson. They are pals!

And here's this beauty again...

Pip is just a stunning tabby girl.

And another excellent, serious mouser!

And uh oh...

No. I don't own a black and white cat.


...I might. Can you see Alex at the left, towards the top? I have found him hanging out with this cat twice this week. And when I took these photos, Archie and Emily were in the cat cage happily watching the black-and-white kitty. They seemed to be getting along!

A few weeks back, my neighbour asked me if we owned a black and white cat, because there was one sitting up at the end of our laneway. I said no. But I think I may have been mistaken. I've started putting our food for her (her? him? My friend Deb thinks it's a girl and I agree.) She leaves when she sees me, but not in a panicked way. I will have to win her trust and then it's off to the vet. I presume someone dumped her. She's definitely not feral. I'll keep you posted! I really don't want 50 cats but sometimes they show up and things are just meant to be. We'll see!