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Author Archives: Denise

A New Queen

I once again have seven cats living on the farm, courtesy of the new guy in my life. Molly is a Somali Cat, which means she looks more like a fox than a cat. She’s an old girl, about thirteen, and when I first met her, she wasn’t in the best of health. Of course, I couldn’t resist the challenge of restoring her health, but before her rehabilitation could begin I needed her on the farm. More than that, I had to find a way to integrate her into the existing cat hierarchy. 

The pyramid of feline power, at least in the house, is fairly simple. My piss-and-vinegar calico Waku Oni (very bad Japanese for “Crazy Devil”) has always been queen mainly because she says so. She’s held her crown by keeping the other two house cats — Wendy, a black tortie, and Shy Girl, a gray tortie– off balance. Her strategy is to ambush them as often as possible to the point that they creep carefully down hallways and always slow down before rounding corners.

How in the world was I going to protect poor, frail Molly from Waku?

I started the acclimation by locking Molly in my spare bedroom along with her familiar paraphernalia. That included her special chair, the one she shares with her guy. And there is no doubt about it…he is HER guy. She very grudgingly allows me time with him.  I’m pretty certain she might actually have challenged me to a duel over him except that I’m now feeding her and she loves her new diet.  What’s not to love? She eats anchovies every day. They’re so good that she almost doesn’t mind the fact that I also smear raw milk yogurt onto her paws and back once a day. Almost.

After a week closed in the bedroom, we began opening the door so she could see what awaited her in the rest of the house. That brought the other cats into the hallway, wanting to see what was hiding in that room. Much hissing ensued and Molly would retreat. 

At two weeks, Molly apparently got tired of being a coward. She ventured boldly out of the bedroom and went straight to the living room where the other cats usually spend their day, moving from chair to floor as they follow the sunlight. I followed, ready to referee if necessary.

As Shy Girl saw the intruder, she headed for the door. (She’s “Shy Girl” for a reason.) Wendy looked up, then tucked her head into her body, unwilling to lose her floor cushion and shaft of sunlight. Waku charged, bent on defending her throne. Much to her surprise–and mine–Molly took a warrior’s stance.

That brought Waku up short. She crouched and glared at the Invader. Molly growled. Waku hissed.  Wendy decided it was a good time to visit the outside food bowl.

Waku blinked first and retreated, jumping onto the big green ottoman. Then as Waku watched from above, Molly circled the hassock, her growls growing steadily louder.  Not so much as a tuft of fur flew, but when Molly finished circling that ottoman and made her way back to her room, it was clear that one dynasty had fallen and another had begun. There’s a new queen on the farm, and it isn’t Waku. 

We are now into week four and detente has been achieved. Waku has claimed her last-stand hassock and spends her days sleeping on it, but my bedroom remains hers. Molly still owns the spare bedroom, but now shares the living room with her former nemesis. That’s because her guy’s chair has been moved in there and she hasn’t really got a choice. The other two cats find it expedient to avoid both their old queen and their new one as much as possible. 

However, I’m still worried about Molly. Having conquered one queen-dom, she’s got delusions of grandeur. She met Moosie for the first time the other day. Moosie, being the happy creature that he is, instantly grinned in welcome and started forward to introduce himself, tail wagging. Faster than I thought possible for an old cat, Molly shot toward him, howling in threat. He froze in startled disbelief. Heart pounding, I snatched her up before she could reach him. Although I warned her that threatening Moosie is sheer insanity, I don’t think she was listening. Give her a few more weeks and I think Molly will be queen of the farm.

Turkeys in the Truck

Years ago, when Tom was the only turkey on the farm, he would spend the day staring at himself in the big shiny bumper of my ex-husband’s truck. That was when Tom wasn’t doing his best to be a dog. Every time I saw him doing this, I’d laugh and call out, “Polly want a… Continue Reading

Snow Day

Okay, be kind, dear relatives from Duluth. I know you sneer each time I mention it, but I have snow! The big, heavy flakes began drifting downward at 10:30 this morning. I rushed outside to take a picture, only to discover you can’t take pictures of snow, at least not right after the storm starts.… Continue Reading

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

It’s almost Christmas on the farm and that means…nothing. I don’t decorate, not inside, not with indoor cats. A Christmas tree is nothing but a challenge to a cat. They race to the top, then challenge each other to see who can knock off the most ornaments. Put a pine bough and a sprig of… Continue Reading

Egg Dreams

Now, onto my persistent egg dreams. For the first time in seven years I have no chickens and no fresh eggs except for those I buy from my local farm buddies. Having to bridge the gap between those I buy locally with the occasional store-bought dozen is causing me serious stress. Each time I reach… Continue Reading

Tiny’s Shadow

The conversion of Lonely Girl from pig to sheep is now complete, at least in her mind and much to Tiny’s complete aggravation. That aggravation is complicated not just by Tiny’s certainty that Lonely Girl isn’t a sheep, but because the pig (She-ig? P-eep?) treats her the way Lonely Girl and her porcine sisters treated… Continue Reading

6 Sheep

This is an update on Lonely Girl. My last little (okay, not so little) piggy girl got tired of constantly complaining about being alone somewhere around the middle of last week. Once she realized that complaining wasn’t going to bring back her sisters, Lonely Girl took a look around and reconsidered her options. There weren’t… Continue Reading

Lonely Girl

It’s that time of year and four out of my five piggies are now gone. That leaves me with one lonely girl, who faces the same fate as her siblings later this week. But for the moment, she’s by herself for the first time in her life. It hasn’t been easy for her to make… Continue Reading

A Bit of Joy

Thank goodness for tenants and my piggy girls. If not for them, my continuing spate of catastrophes would have been hard to tolerate. This last week I discovered a crack in the water pipe leading to the house. How did I discover it? I was working in my kitchen when all of a sudden I… Continue Reading

Really?!

“Really?!” I said, my head tilted up to the gorgeous blue sky on Thursday morning. I was limping again, having tweaked a tendon even though I don’t recall stepping wrong. I was standing near the pig shelter. Stretched out in front of me was my favorite piggy girl, the one who showed belly every time I… Continue Reading