Saturday, 22 June 2013

Cats again, and cherries

Of course, I remembered last night, the cats are essentially feral. They are two of a litter of six found as tiny kittens in an abandoned trailer at a nearby farm market. Without knowing the cat family was inside, someone closed the trialer door, leaving the kittens alone inside, with the remains of a rabbit. I'm imagining Puff and Shadow remembering their happy childhood as they devoured their rabbit catch. It also occurred to us that they may have brought the rabbit inside to keep it away from the dogs, who like to eat rabbit, but just don't seem to be able to catch them.

One of their litter mates was a calico and three were spotted. They others were adopted as farm cats and live outside all the time. They remained pretty small, unlike ours, who now weigh about 13 pounds each. We initially thought both cats were female. A couple of days after we got them I checked again and found that Puff was a boy. They acclimated quickly to domestic life and crawl on laps and purr readily. Shadow was the brave kitten - standing up to Thunder the husky and venturing into new places - and Puff is the scaredy cat, hiding whenever anyone comes to the house and running at every noise, but Puff is definitely the hunter, efficiently dispatching mice, birds, and now a rabbit. They like to cuddle on a blue chair, but they also fight with each other lately.
Brother and sister
This week we've been working pretty hard to keep the orchard and vineyard in shape, mowing and weed whacking everything.  The apples look really great, growing rapidly and enjoying the frequent rains. We also harvested our one sour cherry tree. Last year it had nothing; this year we picked about 30 pounds of cherries and left a bunch for the birds as well. I've pitted almost all of them, we made several batches of jam and froze many bags of them for future use in cobblers. Our new sweet cherry tree produced only 7 cherries, but they are good.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Two birds and a Rabbit

Going down the stairs this morning, we encountered Puff, stretched our luxuriously on the staircase. Seeing a cat in this state might not sound odd, but he always runs down ahead of us, looking for his morning kitty food treat. At the foot of the stairs Tom stopped and on the floor I noticed what appeared to be extensive mouse remains, but Tom looked at me in amazement. When I looked closer I shared his surprise, because the remains were clearly a rabbit. All that was left was the head and some guts and fur. As we wondered how a rabbit had come into the house, I noticed that the front door was slightly ajar. Carrying a whole bunch of stuff in last evening I had left the storm door open and apparently hadn't closed the front door tightly. Some time during the night, Puff and Shadow slipped out, caught the rabbit, brought it in, and ate it.
I went out and called Shadow, who sauntered in from the garage. Then I went out the back door to check the deck and patio. We try to keep the cats inside because of the bird feeders. Before I made that decision I found remains of a cardinal, a titmouse, a male downy woodpecker, and a nuthatch (the last straw) on and under the deck. The last one Puff got within 20 minutes of going out. Today I found a whole female downy woodpecker at the bottom of the stairs and the head of a female house finch on the patio.
Tom is wondering why the dogs don't get rabbits as efficiently as the cats do. I'm happy the dogs seem to just chase the rabbits and can't catch them. We'll keep the cats indoors as much as possible.
Puff and Shadow, murderous cats
Who knows what else they killed in their murderous morning spree!? They certainly weren't interested in breakfast.