I’ve never thought of myself as a “cat person.” I’m actually allergic to them, so I’ve always kept my distance in general. But I have to say, I’ve really fallen head over heels in love with our kittens!
When we first brought our barn cats home, we kept them in an “acclimation pen.” The experts say to keep them contained in a pen or cage for 4 or 5 weeks inside of the barn, to help them learn that it is their home and help them adjust to all the sights, sounds, people, and animals that come through. During this phase, we visited them several times a day to play with them and pet them. The kittens became very comfortable with us, but our Gypsy Momma never really did. She tolerated me petting her, but that was as far as it went.
We hit the 4 week mark with them this week, so we let them out of the acclimation pen and gave them the run of the barn. It has been so fun watching them! Gypsy Momma hides from us, sadly. We catch glimpses of her when we first enter the barn, before she dives for cover, ha. But the kittens are as friendly as ever, and it is so fun watching their little games. They chase each other, stalk spiders, and climb the straw bales.
So as it turns out, I may love cats as much as I love dogs! The kittens don’t seem to bother my allergies, thank goodness, so I’m able to get my daily snuggles. It’s so therapeutic to sit in the quiet barn, with the sweet scent of hay, playing with my sweet kittens. Parenting two young boys is chaotic and very, very loud. The barn is one of my favorite places to slip away for some quiet serenity.
We also have a new stray kitty that I’ve been calling “Francis.” She’s so precious! We’ve been seeing her footprints for awhile, but just finally saw her a few days ago. She is the sweetest cat. It’s funny, she acts more like a dog! She comes to me when I call her and follows me around the yard, ha! She disappears during most of the day, but comes “home” every night. She has apparently been sleeping underneath our deck, curled up by the hot tub, which is actually pretty smart!
The chickens are getting so big! They have also become quite useful recently, despite still being too young to lay eggs. We’ve had terrible problems with spiders ever since we moved in, but I have not wanted to use poisons for many reasons. I have tried several natural remedies that have not worked. But a couple of weeks ago, the chickens discovered the spiders. Problem solved. It turns out that chickens love to eat spiders! Two weeks of the chickens free ranging around our house and most of the spiders are gone. Natural pest control!
No animal post is complete without showing our beautiful GSD! He is so great! He is so happy living here on the farm with land on which to run and play. He is the best!
Our big debate here is what kind of animal to add next. Our original plan was to add a small dairy cow, preferably a miniature Jersey. However, those are very expensive! None of us drink milk, so my dream of a sweet little Jersey cow might not be practical. We do love cheese, cream, and butter though! So we haven’t ruled it out, yet.
We are also considering raising pigs next year. The only problem with this one is that I’m not 100% certain that I’m ready to eat an animal that I raised. Which is crazy, really. Having once been a vegetarian, I have thought a lot about the ethics of eating animals and I am certain that raising them myself in the most natural, happy way possible is the most ethical way to do it. But I also know myself, and I know that I get attached to animals very quickly! So for now, I buy my meat from local farmers who do it right, but we are definitely considering doing it ourselves. We’ll see.
The other two animals under consideration are goats and sheep. Since we don’t particularly love goat’s milk or cheese, I’m not certain why goats are even on the list except that they are adorable and would cut back on our mowing responsibilities, ha! Brandon is the one saying sheep, and again, I have no idea why! I think that he thinks I will shear them and make wool. It’s a possibility. We’ll see. 🙂
I can’t wait to see what animals join us next spring!