Moss, leaves and rotten tree trunks = kittens!

Well this is mostly a food blog and this story starts with food and ends with kittens.

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I went to a potluck/picnic at a county park last Tuesday.  While we were there, a very hungry, actually starving, small cat/large kitten kept coming up to see if we dropped any food.  Soon we were tossing bits of pulled pork and chicken to her and she would run up and grab it and run away into the grass to eat the bite she snagged.  It took 3 hours to get her to come up to me and let me pet her head.  At this point I decided that if I could catch her, I would take her home and adopt her as winter was coming and she wasn’t’ going to survive.  At some point I picked her up and she was skin and bones and jumped out of my arms before I could react.  So, I started over and got her trust yet again.  I managed to get her into my arms again and started heading to the car and she successfully jumped out again.  I eventually gave up and went home and told my darling bf about it saying how guilty I felt that I had to walk away.  He said we could go look for her the next morning, much to my surprise.  Mind you – he is allergic to cats and we have 3, ages 14, 13 and 11.

So, the next morning I took some time off and we drove to the park to find her.  We looked and called and looked and called.  I drove around to every picnic area with food in hand to tempt.  No luck.  I looked for over an hour. (he eventually had to drive to Ann Arbor for work)  Feeling very defeated and sad, I headed home.  I almost went back on Thursday (this park is 1/2 hour away) and I almost went back on Friday.  By Saturday I accepted the fact that she had certainly moved on in search of food and shelter.

Today, my friend Shawn spontaneously stopped by.  Shawn lives in Chicago, but is from the town of Holt, were the park is, and drove into town yesterday just for a long time friend gathering .  He mentioned ,as he dropped a new key to his house off, that he had been at a park and I said, oh yeah, I was at this great park near your house last Tuesday.  That is when he said, it’s the same park he had been at the day before.

I immediately asked if he had seen a kitten running around, one who was starving and sort of afraid of people but too hungry to care.  He said there was.  He kept asking his group if the cat belonged to anyone and no one responded.  So, my BF and I hopped in the car, loaded with a can of tuna, some half and half, some cat food, greenies and a cat carrier and drove the 1/2 hour to the park.  We walked around, through the woods, over the grass to a couple of pavilions, on the way back down the hill, I saw the kitty off in the distance bee lineing it for the woods, so we followed.  We followed and finally caught up with her.  She stopped in front of several rotten fallen down logs and jumped into the space between them.  There I saw my first glimpse of a little orange kitten head.  She had kittens!  We could see two.

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Then the work began.  Getting her to come to me and get the food I had, tossing her bits of tuna and cream laden cat food.  This probably took an hour of me squatting down on the log and reaching my hand out.  Eventually I had my opportunity and I scooped her up, put her into the cat carrier and proceeded to find those kittens.  They were deep in the crevice of the arm of the tree, a rotten tree that fell apart every time I touched it.  It was hard to reach my hand into a dark woodland hole and see what I found, but I did.  I felt three kittens and moved the log around and pulled the bark away and lifted them out.  I felt back in there, one more furry body.  I managed to get that one out too, he was deep in there hiding against a large rock.  I felt around again and could feel no more hiding spots and no more kittens.  Then we lifted the dead logs to make triple sure there were no more.  We had the lot.  Into the car and home we went.  All 5 of them and two of us.

So we have the kitty family sequestered in our office and they are hiding under the futon and under the bookcase. I guess they are not quite ready for open spaces and being indoors.

We are now the proud owners (until we find homes for some of them) of 4 kittens about 3 5 and 7 (see update below) weeks old and the momma kitten who can’t be more than 5 8 months old herself.

So, anyone want a kitten in about 5 2  weeks? After one night inside, they are already litter trained!
It is nice to have the youth of a kitten back in the house, even if they are still hiding, it keeps us all young and happy! The kittens still smell like moss from the dead tree they lived under.

UPDATE:  The kittens are two different ages, the two girls are about 5 weeks and the two boys are about 7 weeks – Lily (as we have named her) adopted two of these kittens when they needed her.  After taking the whole gang to the vet, they are all healthy and on their way to being flea free.  Kitten chow is going down fast!  The kittens are eating it and nursing and Lily is getting it too for the extra nutrition she needs.  The vet said that Lily is probably under 8 months old – so still a kitten in my book. The names so far are Truffle and Poppy – the girls and Marmalade and Brutus – the boys.  Momma Lily is getting used to our kitties and is starting to relax and the kittens are having a great time not living under a log and are playing all the time now.

i’m out

Yards, trees, wood splitting and stump grinding

I have had a busy year. Well, 5 years. Four years ago the ball got rolling by having a gigantic limb fall from the 70-80 year old cottonwood by the garage (there were three of these giant trees). The tree fell on my mulberry tree – a fruiting one and my fence and damaged them both. It, the mulberry had to go. Somehow while I was gone for 2 hours, the tree guy I had hired cut the wrong mulberry tree down. Then while he was attempting to take the cottonwood (which was dying and I didn’t know it) down, he dropped a huge branch on my neighbors house. She asked that I remove another tree to the North that leaned over her property towards her house a bit. So in the matter of a month I went from 4 full grown and two smaller trees to none in that corner. Only catch was, I had to dispose of the wood myself. We split it all that fall – yes it was lying on my lawn from July to November and it
was a lot of tree. It kept the lawn mowing down. I burned that wood during the winter until this summer when I gave the rest away to make room for the next round.

Last July I had two 70-80 year old giant cottonwood trees removed from the backyard. When I bought this house it was loaded with trees in the backyard. Now they are all but gone.

It has taken some getting used to the lack of shade, but it has been great for the garden. Last week was the beginning of the finale. When I had the trees removed I asked the crew to leave me about one cord of wood from the smaller stuff, the stuff about as big around as your thigh, so that I wouldn’t have to split it and could just use a chain saw to slice it up into smaller pieces. Well, they ended up leaving gigantic pieces that are too large for one human to move. My tree guy assured me that he would come back in the fall and split the wood for me (I am lucky enough to have a wood stove for extra coziness and heat). Well we got the fence up a month or so after grinding the stumps (renting a stump grinder) enough to get out of the way of a fence line (they needed still to be properly ground). Nine months later, I still have an obnoxious pile of wood that is keeping me from progress in the landscaping department. Enter in good friend whose boyfriend happened to just recently buy a wood splitter. I was about to pay to have the chunks hauled away, and he offered to help.

Last Thursday, we split wood. On Sunday my tree guy came over and ground all the stumps (and one very large root) for us. A four hour process. Lots of mulch, lots of wood chips flying through the air. Lots of raking in my future.

Finally a sense of completion. These photos document the drastic changes in the backyard since it all began. Watching a 90 foot high tree come down limb by limb is pretty interesting to watch, and terrifying if your house is underneath it!

Now to reroof the garage and finish putting up privacy fence. At least I can take my time with those and not worry about dying trees falling on my head and house!

i’m out