The Cat, The bat and the farmer

Marrying a farmer has many adventures, living and working together can lead for some interesting times and conversations. Fitting into the farming life for me has been interesting, I can help with most things and do lots but there are things I can’t do.  There are things I have taught myself to do which I never thought I would ever be in the position to have to do it.

There is the removal of spiders from houses and cars, once left to a parent or ignored, when you become a parent you have to do these things and I know “they are more scared of you than you are of them” haven’t we all heard that. It doesn’t help if you have a fear of them, regardless of how big or how small they are, they are awful looking and in my eyes frightening.

We have a house that is very active at night, with 4 cats that come in and out of the cat flap at their will, any time day or night (and they do) The Farmer has been good over the years and worn ear protection with all machinery he has used, but he seems not to have night hearing. I on the other hand can hear most things including cats running across the bedroom floor which is carpeted.

There are times when our house is busier than a shopping centre or main street of our country town with the comings and goings. Over the years we have had a range of animals alive and dead brought into the bedroom. I remember waking up one night to an unusual hissing sound (thankfully not like a snake) and not like the cats hissing at each other. I sleep with a torch by my bed so I flicked that on and shone it towards the sound and there are the four cats all standing around in a circle looking at something. I got up and saw it was a frill neck lizard, some how one of them caught it brought it inside and then it got away, so it was standing there frill up hissing at these four cats, it had no where to go, so I bent down picked it up (carefully) so it wouldn’t bite me and opened our door let all the cats out stepped back closing the door and walked the lizard still hissing, around to the kitchen door and let it go out the back, where no cat saw it. I think for the next hour they came in and out looking for it.

Recently Gatsby the ginger walked into the cat flap with a mouse in it’s mouth, casually strolled up to us, dropped it on the floor and continued on to get to the food bowl. Thinking the mouse was dead I bent down to pick it up and it moved so I had to quickly get it outside before it bite me. Amazing so casually dropped from mouth and walked off.

The farmer is good at getting most things but of late it has been me, a bunny from Rita four nights ago, which got all of the others away from the fire and into the outdoors when I threw it out side so she could continue eating it there. I check the mice they bring in though as they have been catching the little Australian marsupial and if it’s alive we let them go, they are similar in size to the mouse but have rounded ears, I chased one into my gum boot the other day and checked it was one before I let it go.

We have had bats as well, they normally are alive and as they can fly when let go they move quickly towards light, so chasing bats out side has become an interesting art form or lesson in moving quickly. Matilda or Frankie seem to find these and of course they make a noise which brings the rest in so with the release of this bat the farmer jumps up pushes the curtains back to the sliding door and opens it as wide as he can, tells me to get out (which I do) it’s 2am in the morning and chased it until it flew out. We would have made Youtube had it been caught on camera. Cats jumping, women outside in nightie holding a torch freezing and naked farmer chasing a bat out of the bedroom.

Rita, Matilda & Frankie are all sisters, Gatsby is the ring in came 5 years after them

From Top Rita, Matilda & Frankie

From Top Rita, Matilda & Frankie

Gatsby

Gatsby

Today is brought to you by the letter i

We have one on our property as do many to help drought proof and grow crop, leaving things to the elements is difficult when living on the land. It’s too hot, it’s too cold but it’s never too rainy we could have rain everyday of the week. I must admit I prefer winter to summer, not a fan of anything over 32 degree Celsius. We worry about our animals when it gets too hot, though we plant trees and isolate areas for them to get under the shade and for roughage, it is quite a thing to see trees ring barked from cattle.

A couple of years ago the farmer had his name in the ballot for a water allocation after over 10 years or so (before my time this commenced) it was awarded. Then it came to building the pivot so we can irrigate that was also another process. Now we have it I call it the “big sprinkler” and it works well to keep the ground watered and the cattle will follow it around drinking out of the sprinklers while the irrigation runs.

One thing the irrigation does though is hum and as there is no noise in the country at night so we can hear it from 4 kms away. This can add to his tinnitus (ringing in his ears) and adds to his insomnia. He sleeps with either the radio or TV on and gives all of us in the bedroom broken sleep. I still wake quite quickly and readily, I hear the cats crunching if they bring things into eat. One night I heard all four cats growling and hissing and in the midst of it was something else spitting. I hate the light going on so I now sleep with a torch, turned it on and there in the middle of a coven of cats was a frill neck lizard warding them all off. I was so annoyed I bent down picked it up so it wouldn’t bite me and put it outside. The cats watched and went off to their beds without further interruptions.

Pete the dog is in my opinion showing signs of disorientation at night and as I live in constant state of “will he or won’t he” (poop) every move has me jumping out of bed with torch ready to shove him outside, guide him to his water bowl in bathroom (prevent him getting on the treadmill) or have to go outside to get the pooper scooper to clean it up after he has been. It annoys me when he doesn’t even wake up and I’m inside, outside and cleaning up. Matilda the cat will sleep next to him on the mattress, she is not fussy which end of the dog is pointed her way, she jumps up and down when I get up and down as she is a flighty cat, the only night she never came back was the night she was at the wrong end of the dog and he pooped on her. Matilda will not sleep with anybody other than Pete or on her own.

We also have a parade of cats that wish to sleep with the farmer. Frankie loves to sleep up between our pillows and the minute he touches her she starts purring loudly, I have to push her away from me and closer to him so I can get back to sleep, Rita, Frankie sister loves to sleep on him, between his legs, lying full length alongside him and every time he rolls over or moves she jumps off and then back on, she will even run or jump on me to get height get back on and off. Now there is Gatsby the ring in, he loves to climb onto me and sleep at my feet, if they all happen to be there at the same time we have hissing at each other.

We have had a plethora of creatures and insects that come in and out of our bedroom uninvited, some alive but mostly dead (see cats in the above paragraph) bunnies, hares, moths, beetles and bats that survived as they were able to fly up and hide behind the curtains, birds to be honest fifty / fifty alive or dead here, mice and lizards that survive and mostly at night. Pete will wander about 3 times per night and then if I have a cat land on the bladder then I have to get up for myself. We hear cars, trucks and animal noises at night and will occasionally have to get up to yell at the dogs to shut up if they are barking at the frogs or other animals at night. Then when one is ready to go back to sleep the rooster announces the dawn at 430am.

I don’t have insomnia unless I am stressed as I can easily go back to sleep where as he can’t. Some nights I wish he would leave the bedroom, nothing more annoying than question time in parliament house at the early hours of the morning, or a really bad D grade western or musical film. Some nights I wish I would leave the bedroom and then think about the fact the spare bed is not made up. Some mornings I will get up and glare at all of the cats sleeping as though they have not done anything all night, Pete will lift his head and look surprised that daylight is here and sometimes, not often I will leave him to lay in bed, he normally gets up before me.

Animals and Ageing

I have for the last 12 months struggled between guilt and love, I have a beautiful Golden Retriever named Pete, who for the past 16 or so years has and is a loyal, loving friend who has developed arthritis in his hips and has taken to not being able to stand or walk quickly and he poops where ever. The medical term is “walk, sit and drop syndrome”

I can tell when he is about to as the only indication is he lifts his tail, sometimes I can get him outside in time but others especially at night he doesn’t realize he has done it. The smell of dog pooh wafts up and we both know one of us has to get up and deal with it. Pete for all of his life has slept on a mattress on the floor of my bedroom, with the occasional stint on the bed and in his compound outside at the farm if we go away. We abandoned that as he aged as he doesn’t wander off the farm now he sleeps by the door on his mattress waiting for us.

Over winter he started to do this every night and as he has moved to sleeping by the door or next to my bed, off his mattress so it is me that gets up to deal with it. We can sometimes leave him out all day for over 14 hours and he will come in lie down and within an hour poop. Lately it has turned to 3 times per night and I have to admit I now can’t do it any longer.

I feel guilty at putting him outside as he walks around the house going to each door, front door, lounge doors, bedroom door, rear lounge where the cat flap is and to the laundry door and barks, He will even lay down on the grass and bark, I have gotten up from my office a couple of times as he won’t stop (his record is 1 hour) to ensure he is ok.

Even his friend Matilda the cat who use to sleep with him has found better, by better I mean cleaner digs to sleep in without the smell or the substance. He has on one occasion gotten her with his poop. Pete also has this week (2 nights) been disorientated and I have found him struggling to get off the treadmill, I have no idea how he got on it but I was on Friday at 130am thinking I was going to have to get a night light for him in the bathroom so he can get up drink and not get lost in the night.

I had a day and night with him yesterday and last night, I left him out all day whilst I cleaned the house, floors and carpets and cleaned up 4 “oopsies” as my husband says – all done outside but by the doors so flies and the smell waft in, I let in him at 930pm and I was up to him at 1am – cleaned up put him out, let him back in at 3am – cleaned up at 330am and then shunted him out at 530am, where he slept against the bedroom screen door and pooped, so I had to clean that up.

I have woken and decided I don’t want to do it any more, broken sleep, dog poop and feeling resentful towards him. At least outside it is still outside, not on the tiles or carpet. It is time for me to move him out, the weather is better and even if it was cold, we have bought him a lambs wool jacket that we put on him in winter and he has a fleecy lined bedding.

He is very much loved and wanted and I want to allow him to age gracefully and fully medicated (arthritis medication) I want to be able to go bed and not worry about dog poop, I know I will have guilt for a couple of days as he will bark, he will want to come in and be at my feet but I will spend time with him outside and I suspect tonight – going to be his first night out will be the hardest.

Pete on his day bed..

Pete on his day bed..

Pete & Matlida - she sleeps away from him but touching him when she can

Pete & Matlida – she sleeps away from him but touching him when she can

 

 

my awake thoughts

I have now taken to sleeping approx 4 hours per night, I know the reason for this but can not stop it. There are outside environmental things that contribute to this and I know I am not alone in having awful sleep times. I blame many aspects of my life for this and many things in it, one of them is the Golden Retriever Pete. Since he relocated himself to the farm, my DH got in a single bed mattress and placed it at the foot of our bed so that is where he sleeps. He has taken to waking up about this time and walking to our sliding door to either look out or to be let out. I hear him do this mainly as one of the shed cats Matilda walks with him meowing at him as he goes. She is exceptionally close to Pete, she has taken to sleeping up near his head every night and bringing him presents (occasionally half a rabbit, a mouse or any other morsel she feels he needs).

I get up to check on him and let him out so I lie awake until he comes back to be let in otherwise he lets out an enormous bark that has my heart racing for hours. I also wake because DH rolls or flip-flops a lot. he does not wake up but he does roll over, I shall be purchasing a King Size bed soon as I feel I am being pushed out and it drives me nuts. I like sleeping by the open door as I seem to heat up during the night and if the door isn’t open I have woken because I dream I am cooking in an oven (no ageist comments allowed here 🙂 ) I have even gotten up and showered to cool down even on mind nights.

I wake because my mind is active with all things, daughter, family, friends, Keith Hospital    issues, planning meetings doing agendas, up skiling myself and how on earth do I fit all I do in the day light hours. I use to get up and walk said Golden retriever every day winter or summer on the beach and found this was a great way to meditate, I have not done this for years due to his aging condition. he is coming up 15 and struggles to walk the KM’s I use to. I now leave all my clothes in the bathroom, get dressed and sneak out before he knows I am gone, that is the advantage of him having significantly diminished hearing, he does not hear me  quietly close the door. He has looked perplexed on occasions when I have arrived home and woken him.

I worry, I think, I stress and whilst saying this I have realised I have not taken my blood pressure medication this morning – drat! I have a Keith Hospital Action group meeting tonight so will not be home before 830pm, I hope I have the scripts in the car. I hope my minds stops soon as my body is beginning to feel the effects of 4 mornings in a row and 11 hour work days. Enjoy the nights and the days