August 31, 2007

Household Staff ~ Negotiating Contracts

This is Fuzz-Buzz

Even though just a kitten, she carried a detailed job description when she arrived. It was clear that in exchange for purring, and never hissing or being cross, her primary duties were to be limited to sitting on chairs and beds of her choice.

She made it clear that she would have no part in chasing mice, imaginary mice or any fast moving objects. She agreed to remain an indoor cat, especially since there are no beds on the back porch, so why bother.

In addition, she promised to flash her baby blue eyes at guests only long enough for their admiration, then it would be back to holding down any moveable furniture.

She occasionally admits to taking a swipe at a chair or two, but only in passing. So, what's the problem?

This is Lalique

This little girl was a Princess from day one. Her terms were that she was to be held at all times. She found that jumping on to a shoulder was an especially enjoyable sport. And making herself into a fur neck wrap was quite delightful. This meant that she could have a full time ride around the house and be held ... all at the same time.

In exchange, she produced the loudest purr on the planet. Her favorite occupation is to purr into the phone when people are talking. She's rather proud that some think we have a tiger in the household.

She is the social director of the household and delights in locating the one person in the group that does not like cats. She prompty occupies their lap. She doesn't seem to mind that they pet her with one finger.

Escaping outside is another favorite hobby. Even though warned about all the horrible things waiting to devour her, she doesn't think this includes her. And hiding behind the bushes while everyone is frantic is rather amusing.

She knows when she is finally discovered, everyone will be so grateful that she will be pampered and held, again. And that is the game.
Also, she is quite clear that any swipes to the chairs do not come from her. It is that big fat lazy cat who sleeps all day on the bed ... who is clearly to blame.
There is one thing that upsets Lalique and that is when mom is gone. Just what is a girl to do all day?

So, getting cozy with Fuzz-Buzz is about as comfy as you can get.

You know, maybe Fuzz-Buzz has something going with this 24 hour sleeping schedule. Well, almost, 24 hours. We all know she sneaks off to eat. Have you picked her up, lately? Geezzzzz !

Fuzz and I both agree life isn't perfect here. There is something they call "contracts". It bascially is about all the things we cannot do. It's really annoying and unreasonable.

It is about things like: staying off the kitchen counter, not jumping on the tables, and most of all, not scratching chairs. What's so special about those chairs, they've had them forever.

They actually went out and bought those dumb things called "cat scratchers". Now really, I'm supposed to travel to scratch something?

Fuzz and I agreed that we'd like to make them happy and worked the scratcher over a little bit just to please them. However, we got tired of that and were soon back to taking swipes at something more convenient like the nearest chair.

This is NOT a plan !

Apparently, they thought we didn't like the little cat-scratcher and they actually bought a bigger one!

Fuzz and I decided to destroy it as quickly as possible. That way it would be removed from the house once and for all, and we could get back to taking swipes at what we do best, the chairs.
Hello ! We do not like this !!
Now, this is the horrible part of our story. They called a meeting.

We were each carried by all the chairs in the house. Mom didn't sound ... friendly. And I remember exactly what she said !


"Do not scratch this chair ! You may only sit on this chair!
This is not "your" chair!"


"Do not scratch this chair! You may not even sit in this chair!
Remember ... this is a living room chair! "

Now, we are getting nervous.

We were heading towards the ... dining room.
We didn't even ... meow !

"Don't even think about it ! Not even one paw touches this chair!
You may not ever sit on this chair."
Fuzz and I decided we'd spend some time under the bed.

Things were pretty quiet around the house for a long time. I think they kinda missed us, because they started looking for us ... you know, with that baby talk stuff. That's when we knew the scary times were over.

We finally came out and crawled up on their laps and started purring. We knew we had them, now. This was "negotiating" time.
This story has a really happy ending.
We got a cat-scratcher of our very own. We even got to choose it.
It is even in the shape of a chair. (No, we can't touch the other chairs.) But look what we got!

We get to scratch it, claw it, jump on it, sleep in it, tear it up ... anything we want.

Take a look ... how cool is that?!

August 28, 2007

Dear Santa ...

Percheron Team

Ok, I actually called about these horses. I really think we need these boys here on our farm.
The problem is ... where.
I've pretty much walked the entire (um-uh) North Forty, even considered moving the barn ... yah, really.
I asked the neighbors if they would like to move ... but so far, I don't think that is working out.
Since we're keeping all our other critters, I'm afraid things might get a little cosy.
So, I got to thinking and remembered that in the olden days in Denmark the farmers and horses shared portions of the house
You know ... this just might work.

Gathering Roses

The fragrance of roses fill the air ...

August 24, 2007

Meet Alberta

So glad you stopped by ...
you probably haven't heard but I'm mom's favorite.

Great day by the pond!

(They built this for me, you know)

My favorite place (ok, I have lots of special places)

If I wait long enough somebody will come along

and I can sit on their lap, get petted and fed.

How cool is that?

By the way, this is my mom. I pretty much follow her everywhere.

We've made brick walkways together, planted gardens,

cleaned the barn and the best, just sat together on the swing.

She says I'm her ... baby.

HEY! Where'd you go?

Are you in the house ... again?

August 22, 2007

Are We In Nebraska, Yet?

A strange garden for Southern California, but sometimes a girl gets lonely for the sights of the good old Midwest.
A dear sweet old man in his 90's remembered how much I loved sunflowers and sent me an envelope of seeds from his backyard.
Determined that they would grow, I prepared the soil as though I were going to plant a crop of corn. And much to my surprise the plants grew ... just like at home.
I'll admit that the horses helped out a great deal.
I quickly had a photo snapped to send back to my generous friend. He, too, was surprised. Actually, his words were ... I didn't think you could do it.
Hummm... I guess the word travels far as to my not always very green thumb. But nevermind that, I was one happy ... farmer

And then there is ... Lucy!

Lucy is in charge of ... everything. She darts around most of the day checking to be sure things are in proper order in the garden, the barn, the yard ... simply put, just about everything. She seems to be well liked or perhaps it is ... respected.

Lucy is also the official babysitter, guardian, companion of the dog. She loves the dog and makes claim to Daisy at every opportunity.
I've never quite understood what makes these bonded relationships. But this is one lasting friendship, for sure.

Patience Is A Virtue

Daisy and The Girls

The Gentleness of Nature

August 17, 2007

A Royal Romp In the Arena

Royal struts his stuff on a warm summer day.

Kayla and Mouse-Trap

The Management

August 14, 2007


Now, this boy has a story.
It begins with: "It was a dark, rainy night ...".
We heard a sorrowful meow at the door and there he was. He had the most pleading eyes ever and he was simply soaked to the skin. It was difficult to tell just how old he was, but certainly not more than six months old.
We already had a household staff of cats and we knew that asking him to face that crew would not be the best plan for this little boy who had obviously been traveling a fair distance.
So, we bundled him up and it was off to the hay barn with blankets, food and everything that would make him at least comfortable for the night.
We expected him to be gone in the morning.
Much to our surprise, there he was still curled up on the top bale of hay looking like he had just found home.
He officially moved in, found a job in the barn and soon became pals with the horses and the best friend of the dog. In time, the two traveled the farm everywhere ... together.
The hay barn is still his, as well as the barn, the porch chairs, and any shady place in the garden.
Has he moved into the house yet?
Well, actually, yes. But that is another "rainy night" story.

August 6, 2007

New Boy In The Barn

Royal arrives home.
It was a great day when this handsome boy finally moved into the barn. We had searched far and wide for "another" perfect horse. This was not easy. Royal had very big horse-shoes to fill.
Ebony, the horse that had been my companion for over 20 years had occupied this same stall. I wasn't certain that any horse could ever follow in Ebony's hoof prints.
The stall had now been empty for months, ... since Ebony died at the age of 30 yrs old. My heart was broken.
Even though I was too sad to seriously look at other horses, I followed family members around who were trying to either distract me or help me find another horse. However, I was convinced that was not possible and that my horse days were over.
Then, when I least expected it, while walking through an equestrian center I heard a soft low nicker as I walked past the stall of a beautiful big, black Tennessee Walker.
Surprised, I turned around to speak to him, our eyes met ... and it was love at first sight for both of us. And ... there was a "For Sale" sign posted on his door.
He was a dream to ride, perfect manners and passed the vet check with sailing colors. The decision was made.
I wrote out the check and filled in the date ... it was Ebony's birthday!
I was certain he was a comfort gift from Ebony. This boy was coming home.

August 3, 2007

The Guard Dog

Kayla was a rescue dog. Our long time Irish Setter companion, Daisy, had just died and we were in dreadful shape ... we badly needed to be rescued. Then we found Kayla.

She came highly recommended with eight years proven history of making people happy. Her former parents were moving away and they were looking for the perfect place for Kayla to call home. We were the lucky people ... we were that place.
This sweet girl came with an impressive resume'. She had a background in social communications and even graduated magna cum laude from the School of Proper Dog Behavior.
She also had advanced degrees in both Patience and Obedience and had received honors in the areas of calmness, gentleness and happy disposition. She was a certified ... People Therapist.
Kayla is an adorable Golden Retriever that lives up to their wonderful reputation. How comforting it is to have this sweet girl to guard our farm and critters and most of all just being with us.
One of the first things Kayla did when she arrived at the farm was to check out the horses ... from the safe side of the fence. Even though this was new stuff for her, it became her regular spot for several mornings... carefully evaluating the big black occupants on the other side of the gate.

It wasn't long before Kayla was on the other side of the fence. The horses consider dogs to be old stuff around the barn, so after a sniff or two, Kayla decided that her favorite place to be was in the barn.

However, she hardly had time to stretch out before she was off to the dog show. And, sure enough, she won a ribbon. We had ourselves a real ... winner !

But more adventures awaited our new girl. It was time to check out the things at the nearby seashore. That was an adventure ! She was one wet pup when she finally arrived home. What a day!

I think she is going to like it here with us.

August 1, 2007

Are We Really A Farm?

The Fat Ladies making the rounds

Not sure we truly qualify as a farm. By location, one would say no. But because of the occupants that call this place home, it must be.
Then, of course, we have a barn, a hay loft, a chicken house and the caretakers quarters, that's where we live. We have no pastures to till, or crops to harvest, but we do have one Cottonwood tree planted soon after our arrival. That makes it a farm, at least we like to think so.
We are a bit of a strange pair. When most people in Southern California are heading to the beach, we are out saddling up the horses and heading down the trail.

Some of our best entertainment is when we are out visiting with friends and we make mention of having to leave early to feed the horses. Most people understand a stable off somewhere, but at home? And what really gets the attention is when we say that it's also time to put the chickens to bed.

Oddly enough, however, our friends have now added us to their list of places to take visiting guests. It seems that we're right up there with Disneyland and Universal Studios. We've become the ... who would believe it ... place to see.

Seems rather ordinary to us.