Tag Archives: cats

Enduring Ozark Summer Heat

Missouri Ozark weather is usually changeable. Lately the changes have been slow in coming. Summer heat has been sitting here for a couple of weeks.

Temperature is only part of the story in the Ozarks. The other part is the humidity.

Our bodies sweat. It evaporates. Our bodies cool down. Humidity slows or stops the evaporation so we stay hot and feel hotter than the temperature warrants. Lately humidity levels have rivaled the temperature.

cat sleeps through summer heat

My cat Cloudy sprawls out on the grass next to the sidewalk occupied by my cat Burton. both await my appearance to serve dinner. They look so comfortable. They make it tempting to join them.

Cats don’t sweat. When summer heat settles in, they find a shady spot and sprawl out. Favorite haunts are often in front of doorways. Open the door. Find splat cat lying a step outside.

Chickens move into the shade. My flock has lost its favorite haunts as a pair of gray foxes has moved into the area. The chickens now hang out around the goat barn.

summer heat makes chickens pant

Chickens try to slick down their feathers. Then they start panting. These three are in a shady corner of their yard. A family of gray foxes has moved to the area so the chickens stay on full alert through the heat.

Horseflies and deerflies influence the goats. These insects have vicious bites. The goats come in with big, raised welts oozing moisture. The flies like sun and moist areas.

The goats go up on the hills and tuck themselves into deep shade under the oaks. Unfortunately the best browse is down in lower areas.

My herd is smaller now, only seventeen goats. They pack themselves into as small an area as possible. Each goat hopes the flies visit the neighboring goat or can be rubbed off onto the next goat.

Nubian goats in summer heat

Goats pant when they get hot. The herd loafs in shady areas most of the afternoon. My herd goes up over the hills and down the ravine during the day, between layovers in deeper shade. Once the air starts cooling, the herd comes out into the pasture to graze.

Toward midsummer the horseflies move up close to the goat barn. The goats don’t appreciate this. The chickens do.

Savvy chickens stalk the goats watching for flies to land. Snack time.

Summer heat is making work difficult. It’s too hot for me to work outside, even in the shade by noon. My barn is almost cleaned out. I keep trying to take out a few loads of manure each day.

Noon means coming in to change shirts as the morning shirt is sopping wet. There is a rumor this summer heat will break for a few days by the end of the week. All of us need the break.

Ending the Year

Beginning and ending the year happens on an arbitrary date. The agreed upon date is fast approaching. For me this is a time to reflect on the year past, its hopes, its accomplishments, its disappointments, its gains and losses.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

High Reaches Precious Jewel lived a long life here. Old age caught up with her. Some of her daughters are still in the herd.

As a writer I am ending the year disappointed. Only Capri Capers came out this year. My plans called for the third in the Hazel Whitmore series tentatively called Mistaken Promises. A picture book called Waiting For Fairies was on that hoped for list too. Discouraging as they sometimes become, the botany project pages are finally taking shape from the hundreds of pictures I took this past growing season.

Clyde ending the year loss

Clyde arrived one day and adopted me. He was one of my wheelbarrow cats leaping in to ride whenever I had one out.

As a goatkeeper ending the year has its hellos and good-byes. I lost four old friends this year. Jewel and Silk were old and in poor health. Josephine and Bonnie got sick and I could not help them survive. But Rose is doing fine and growing fast.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

High Reaches Bubbles Silk was a big Nubian doe. She lived here a long time and left me with a junior herd sire, a daughter and granddaughter.

It’s so strange how a little goat seems to stay the same size for months. Suddenly the eyes look again and this has been an illusion. That little goat has gotten big even though it was not noticed.

Pretty Boy ending the year loss

My mother’s two cats came to live with me. Pretty Girl left me last year. Pretty Boy enjoyed being outside. He never stopped missing my mother.

Three cats left as well. My mother’s Pretty Boy is gone. Cat, Grey Cat and Clyde followed him. There are now six cats living here.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

Worms are a curse in the Ozarks. Poor High Reaches Josephine was fine one day and too anemic to save the next. She was an excellent milker and sorely missed.

My pantry has lots of potatoes and butternut squash in it. The freezer has enough chopped peppers to supply every meal for months. Tomato sauce is ready for spaghetti and pizza. The garden did well even though I never feel it has. The weeds seem to get the upper hand by the end of the season and leave me discouraged.

Grey Cat ending the year loss

I don’t know where Grey Cat came from. She arrived one day and decided to stay. She wanted only a place to live and food to eat. In all the years she lived here, she would never allow me to touch her. She let me civilize her kittens one of whom is still living with me.

However, fresh spinach beckons from the raised bed. The first Brussels sprouts are ready to pick in my temporary greenhouse. I have learned new things about them and hope to have better crops from them next year.

Nubian doe ending the year loss

High Reaches Bonnie came down with pneumonia as cold winter weather moved in. She was a favorite goat always glad to see me.

Did the year live up to the dreams and hopes I had? No. But the year was still a good one. I hope your year was a good one too.

Summer Heat Arrives

March into April into May cool days, even frosts and rain filled the Ozark spring. June has brought summer heat.

Working outside in cool weather only requires a light jacket. One task after another can be tackled over the course of the day.

Summer heat changes the equation. Working out in the hot sun and high humidity takes care and planning.

bucks beat the summer heat

The bucks did spend the day in their pen or under the goat gym. Summer heat has driven them outside into the shade. There is another motivation at work as this is where the herd will come later on in the day.

My animals have the right idea. They tumble out at the crack of dawn to eat or play or both.

As the sun blazes down, the animals retire to the shade. The goats graze or lie around chewing their cuds. The chickens scratch out holes in damp earth. The cats find shady spots to relax and sleep in.

My list of chores isn’t concerned with summer heat. The items on the list need doing.

I am concerned with the heat. So my schedule must adjust.

chicks beat the summer heat

Somehow I just haven’t had time to cut down the weeds in the chick pen. In the heat the chicks don’t mind as they enjoy the shade.

The winter build up in the barn is slowly disappearing from that floor and rolling out to the manure pile. Now it rolls out early in the day instead of after lunch.

Seeding grasses and vigorous weeds line the garden fences. The ones in the shade get chopped and pulled. Those in the sun hope the shade never arrives.

Wet, cool weather delayed planting. Now the intense sun is hard on new transplants.

Summer heat encourages the potatoes to hurry as these are cool weather plants. My pantry again has fresh potatoes in it.

Lettuce and peas are giving way to beans, tomatoes and squash. The weeds are happily trying to go to seed before I arrive to uproot them.

cat beats the summer heat

Tyke finds the shade on the gravel road a great place to keep cool. Besides this allows him to keep an eye out for the rabbits that cross the road. Tyke loves rabbit dinner. So far the rabbits are faster than he is.

Early mornings are delightful. The air is cool and crisp.

Evenings are the best. The cool air brings relief from the summer heat.

The chickens resume their bug hunts. The goats resume grazing gorging on grass seed in competition with the wild turkeys and deer. The cats resume stalking the wily rabbit grazing in the back yard.

I relax in the milk room door watching the fireflies in the gathering dark serenaded by the one whip-poor-will still calling down the valley.

Ending and Beginning

December is a month for ending and beginning. Celestially it ends a year with the winter solstice marking the shortest day of the year, the beginning of winter and slowly lengthening days.

For me this ending year is a time for last good-byes to those who greeted the year with me but are not here to see it out.

cat Pretty Girl

Pretty Girl was one of my mother’s cats who came to live with me when she became ill. At over 14 Pretty Girl became ill and is gone. Pretty Boy is still going at 15.

Many of my cats are old. Cat and Pretty Girl are gone now.

Cat

Tom cats travel through our valley. Cat was one of them. He liked the place and moved in staying for many years.

My goat herd has dropped to twenty-two Nubians. The last of the Swiss breed crosses, BB and Joy, are gone as is Miss Patience. One doeling, Lydia, stayed although her sister, Martha, is among those gone.

goat BB

BB ruled the goat herd for several years. She was a mix of British Alpine and Nubian. Age ended her rule this year.

As I grow older I know I must cut back. Still I miss those who are gone and wish other kids had stayed.

High Reaches Buket's Joy

One inescapable fact of owning livestock is illness. High Reaches Buket’s Joy became ill with some parasite we could not defeat.

Christmas is the last holiday of the year. For many children it is an end unto itself as they await their new treasures.

Nubian High Reaches Miss Patience

Nubian High Reaches Miss Patience called Patty had a long and productive life. She was a calm goat, a joy to work with.

Christmas is the beginning of the Christian year marking the birth of Christ. Only a week later a New Year begins.

Nubian Martha

Born blind and mostly deaf Martha was still all goat. She learned to climb and play on the goat gym. She was my companion around the barn. She had to taste everything and something was deadly poison. I miss her.

I will miss the old year and those who are gone. Yet, the New Year is a new adventure with treasures unknown waiting to be discovered.

Nubian High Reaches Juliette's Lydia

High Reaches Juliette’s Lydia is a handful of Nubian. She is friendly, mischievous and getting as big as her mother Juliette.

I wish you a Happy Holiday Season.