And then there are the rodents who want to get into the farmhouse because: a) it’s a safe, warm place to take up residence, and b) the farmer keeps his food in the house.
We haven’t had too many problems with rodents YET. Not that we haven’t had them─there’s been a family of chipmunks running about who took it upon themselves to investigate the garage and even occasionally the sun-porch. There was a mouse about a few weeks ago, but we managed to get him with an old fashioned mousetrap.
I like to have a cat on patrol to keep the rodent problem down, and I also have a very real need to have some kind of creature to look after and love. I guess I’m admitting my maternal instincts as a female farmer. Now that I am divorced, my kids are not always with me, and a furry four-legged critter helps to fill the void. With Willow gone, I was left with the chickens and the honeybee─not the most cuddly and affectionate of animals, lol.
Finances are tight, so I can’t afford a dog right now. But I can manage to feed and care for a cat. And a cat fills a need on the farm. So a cat it was.
That just left one sticking point….
I can’t spend money on a cat before I’ve put up my firewood for the winter.
I just bought heating fuel and we will keep the thermostat set at a temperature that will keep the pipes from freezing in this old farmhouse, but if we actually want to be warm I need to buy several cords of firewood for the woodstove.
Don’t worry! I’m not cold now─I managed to get my hands on some firewood; it’s enough for now but I’m thinking long-term.
Despite the firewood and the finances, I was in need of a cat so last Saturday my partner and I went to the Franklin County Animal Shelter over in Farmington. They have a “Barn-Cat” program that offers free cats (who have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and dewormed) to take up residence in your barn. These are independent cats who are either feral, or just do not enjoy living in a home, so they’re not necessarily cuddly and loving. The Franklin shelter had a young female cat who they thought that with time, I might be able to pet and form a relationship with, and the price was right, so I brought “Jessie” home and set her up in the milk room of the barn with food, water and a litter box.
The plan was to keep her in the milk room for a few days so that she would learn that the barn was “Home” before we released her to her work.
I didn’t realize that the hole at the lower left corner of the outer door was big enough for a cat to fit through, and when I went back 2 hours later to check on my new kitty─Jessie was gone.
That’s just how it goes with cats─especially the ones who are independent or afraid of people.
So I was still without a cat and I couldn’t afford the $80 adoption fee that the shelters charge to adopt one. Don’t get me wrong─the price is well worth it. The animals you take home from the shelters are healthy, spayed/neutered, and up to date on their vaccinations. Not to mention it’s a great cause to support. I don’t mind paying the price, I just don’t have the money.
Imagine my delight when I saw the Somerset Humane Society’s posting on facebook! Thursday, Friday and Saturday only, they are running a special sale on cats. They are overrun with cats and had 18 kitties listed for the special price of just $10. I can afford that!
I took my boys and went to the shelter right after work yesterday and picked out a very handsome ad rather large orange tabby cat they’d deemed “Julius”. He is 7 years old and I can already tell that he has loads of feline-character.
We brought him home, adjusted his name to “Jules Verne”, and he is now acclimating to the environment here in the farmhouse. After a few days I will let Jules outside and we will see what kind of a hunter he is.
It feels good to have a furry four-legged creature living here again. Welcome to Runamuk Acres Jules Verne!