R.I.P., Sassy

Today started off a little rough – Matt ran over Sassy, one of our 2 housecats. She had spent the night outside and was apparently under his truck when he drove out this morning. She wasn’t killed immediately, but I knew it was bad when she wasn’t using her back end at all and she was panting and drooling. Still I had Matt put her in the cat carrier so I could take her to the vet and see if the injuries were something she could recover from, or if she should be put to sleep and out of misery. But the vet office doesn’t open until 8:00 and, fortunately I think, she died before that – within a half hour of getting hurt.

Madeline was upset, but not for too long. She wants to bury her by their clubhouse and put up a marker that says, “Here lays Sassy, dead.”. Yes, I stifled my laughter.

So that just leaves Ed as our only housecat again, and I told the girls right away that it’s going to stay that way. I’m tired of having a catpan to clean, and they have a nice bunch of new kittens in the barn. Ed will be 12 this summer and we’re always wondering how long he’ll go on. When we had him declawed he was about 5 years old, and we got a call from the vet telling us that Ed has a heart murmur. This put him at a higher risk of complications from the declawing surgery, and did we want to go ahead with it? I asked how long they usually live with a heart murmur and the vet said 10 years. Well I couldn’t live with him tearing up our upholstery for 5 more years so we went ahead with it. Here he is, 7 years later, fat and lazy and loveable as ever.

The bottle calves are looking much better. They’re venturing out of the shed and spending more and more time laying in the grass outside. That’s exactly what they need – fresh air and sunshine, I think, are big contributors to animal health (including people).

Our broilers go to be butchered on Monday. Esther just called and asked if we could have them there at 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. I didn’t quite follow the whole story, but something about the farm they were going to do them at isn’t ready so they’re doing them at their own farm. Her husband has to leave for work at 8, and she can’t get the heads off, so they have to do them before he leaves for work. I really wanted to go and watch, but maybe Matt’s going to have to take them by himself. I don’t want to drag all 3 kids out of bed at 5:30 a.m.

I’m getting a little nervous, this being our first batch, that they’re going to be big enough. They certainly look fat, and they feel heavy, but I’d like to actually weigh one and see. Unfortunately we don’t have a scale. I want them to dress out on average at 4 pounds and range from 3.5 – 4.5 pounds. We’re charging $8 per bird, which includes the butchering and bagging, but Matt says if they’re light we’ll just charge less for them. I just can’t wait to have chicken for supper Monday night!

Seems I have a couple of snobs amongst my pullets. When I went out to put the flock to bed a couple of nights ago I noticed I was missing 1 white pullet and 1 black one. I figured “something” had got them – a hawk, maybe – but Matt said maybe they just found somewhere else to sleep. So I went yesterday after lunch and they all happened to be hanging around the cattle shed. Sure enough, I counted all 5 white ones. (I didn’t bother to count the black ones, there’s too many of them to count when they’re spread all over the place.) And I noticed a black and a white one hanging out by themselves around the horse pen. Last night when I put them to bed, only 4 white ones. So I’ve got 1 white and 1 black that are apparently too good to sleep with the rest of them – or another possibility may be that they’re at the bottom of the pecking order and not being allowed to sleep with the others. Haven’t figured out where they do sleep yet.

The garden-planting is going so slow this year because of all the rain. And of course we got a late start because of having to plow up a new garden bed out of our lawn. We got peas (sugar snap, snow, and garden) in on Mother’s Day weekend, as well as rhubarb and asparagus. The peas look great, the rhubarb and asparagus haven’t come up. We received them quite a long time before we could actually plant them, and I’m thinking it was too long and they’re not going to make it. Same with the berry bushes – none of them are green at all yet.

The following weekend Matt planted onions (yellow and red) and garlic (2 kinds). Over the next week he got in beans (bush and pole), potatoes (red, blue, gold, and kennebec) and peanuts.

Last Monday (May 31st, Memorial Day) I transplanted 150 tomato plants. I know, thats-a-lotta plants. And I have probably 100 more to get in.

So yesterday after work we decided we must get the rest of the seed in, because it was only going to be practical to till it with Dick’s tiller one more time. Unfortunately Matt forgot where he had planted the peanuts and tilled them up. So we’ll have to try those again next year. We got in carrots (Danvers half-longs), radishes (a mix), spinach (tyree), pak choi, mesclun mix, cucumbers (Ms. Pickler and Straight 8), butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, and sunflowers (2 kinds). I brought the rest of my seed trays out of the basement and watered them good. Need to harden them off and get them in this weekend. Problem is we’re running out of room! I’ve got to find a place for the other transplants – peppers, muskmelon, watermelon, basil and oregano, and cabbage.

Now they’re calling for rain – again – starting after midnight tonight and continuing through the night Saturday. Which means it will probably be too wet to plant on Sunday. Wish I had more vacation time built up – I should take the afternoon off and try to get the rest of the transplants in.

As I’m planning for my market garden for next year I’m overwhelmed by how much planning there really is and, after all that planning, how much luck it really takes.

Weather for today is 78 and sunny…beautiful. And I’m stuck at my dayjob. *SIGH* Better get to it.

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