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The other critters

Cats of a feather

Cats of a feather… or something like that

It’s a regular zoo around here. By now you’ve read about (or at least seen the menu entry for) the llama, the Jacob sheep, the Angora goats, the dairy goats, and the Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens. And that might seem like enough…

Maybe…

But, I ask you, what farm would be complete without dogs and cats? A horse? A coon? Our’s certainly is not!

First there’s the horse. We used to have around 9 horses. In fact, Jeanette used to breed and train Arabian race horses, and I earned my first horse training horses alongside Jeanette. But over the years, our bodies have aged, our resources changed, and out focus altered. Now, there’s just Durfria. She’s an ancient (30 years old) Arabian mare that was mother to several national champs on race tracks and on trails. No one, though, had ever been able to ride Durfria until Elena tried. ‘Fria is Elena’s horse and Elena is ‘Fria’s human.

We have Scraps – the amazing batpigfrog dog. Jeanette accidentally adopted this odd looking yet lovable canine in 2003 when she pulled over while delivering mail (yes, Jeanette was, at one point, a mail carrier) to avoid running over the poor thing. We spent months trying to find the rightful owner and never did. We called her Scraps because she looks as though she were assembled from spare parts. She has bulging eyes, bat ears, and the appetite and curly tail of a pig. Batpigfrog dog.

Then there’s Gibbs. As Lena and I pulled into the WalMart parking lot in mid 2012 we saw a box of fluff. On of the pieces was red and fluffier than the others. I thought it might be a tribble (I’m such a geek), but I was wrong. It was a dog. Now, I knew we needed another dog like I needed another hole in my head, but somehow I managed to justify it. Gibbs is full-grown now, and not as fluffy as once he was. Instead, the fluff turned into a luxurious, silk red coat. All that luxury is at odds with his goofy looking, black-tipped lop ears. Still, he’s smart. Not if only we could get him to stop eating drop spindles…

Lisa and Ziffnab are Elena’s cats. They’ve never been outside, intentionally, their entire lives! Talk about spoiled. Lisa is a short-haired tortoise shell gray cat with an attitude, and how! Ziffnab is a long-haired orange ball of fluff – about a 20 pound ball of fluff.¬†Half-n-half is kinda Shawn’s cat. She’s a black and orange tortoise shell cat with half her face orange and the other black. She’s also the grand dame of the house at 18 years of age. That’s about 90 human years.¬†Straykitty is a little – well, not so little any more – kitty that wandered into the shop to stay warm about 2 years ago. Elena took pity on the scrawny thing and offered it a bit of food. She never left and her name never changed… she’s just Straykitty.

For about 2 years, we’ve had a regular midnight visitor. As I sit out in my shop, reading and relaxing before turning in – it’s about midnight – I see a blur out of the corner of my eye, but I pay no attention to it. It’s just Straykitty, I think. Then I hear it eating and I turn to find a young raccoon eating cat food. Since that first night, the coon has gotten bolder and had snuffled my ear on one occasion. I can’t decide whether I should get rid of the varmint or adopt it… What would a farm in the Ozarks without a coon be like?