My husband's family had a big reunion in southern Oregon. We went by Crater Lake on the way there...
and came home via Portland...
In The Pasture
One of the most exciting things that happened this summer is we adopted a horse! I still can't quite believe it. My niece had read in our local paper about a group of young horses that had been rescued from an Indian reservation in northern Idaho. The horses were originally purchased for a rehabilitation program on the reservation, but because of circumstances out of their control, they lost their funding and the horses were about to be sold for slaughter. You can read about them and see the other horses on their website. We went a few times a week to help groom the horses and muck out the pasture. Prior to arriving here in town, the horses hadn't been treated well and were underweight and generally looked pretty ragged. They were naturally shy of humans, but the more we went, the more they warmed up to us and their sweet personalities started to emerge. It wasn't long before we fell in love!
Her full name is Pocahontas, but we call her Poco for short. She's a two-year old registered Paint. My niece also adopted a horse and we took them to their new boarding place at the beginning of September. She has kept us very busy! I've immersed myself in horse-training books and gotten some help from a local trainer. We're also learning about horse nutrition, hoof care, safety, health care and the list goes on.
She's very affectionate, mellow, a bit stubborn and makes these facial expressions that seem to reflect a sense of humor - a good fit for our family :)
Two of our beloved older pets passed away this summer.
Our sweet Jack was seventeen years old and died in the beginning of September. I worried so much about him in the end. Every day, for the last six
months, the first thing I'd do in the morning is see if he was still
breathing and every evening wondering if he'd make it through another night. Although he was frail and completely deaf, he didn't seem to be in any pain and spent most of the summer snoozing in the backyard. He was the kind of dog that was friendly, without exception, to people and other animals alike, including guinea pigs, ferrets, rabbits, cats and dogs. All met with a wagging tail and his English Springer bounce. We loved him dearly. We miss you Jackie boy.
We found Ruby as a stray when we lived in California just a few weeks before we moved here to Idaho. I think she was about fourteen years old when she died in May of kidney disease. Our little skinny-minny was a bit shy and I always thought Carl Sandburg must have had her in mind when he wrote "The fog comes on little cat feet" because she had a way of quietly appearing at your feet with a smidgen of a mew asking to get in your lap. We'll always love you Ruby.
The circle of life rolled through our house in a big way this summer. As we nursed our older pets in their last days, we also welcomed new kittens into the family.
**Warning** -copious kitten photos to follow- I tried to pare them down to just a couple of my favorites, but it's a pretty difficult task when you have the CUTEST kittens in the world! ;)
I posted when these little babies were born and since then they have been held and played with non-stop. We kept three of them and two went to live with my sister. The kids named them Scarlet, Luna and Jet. Cassi's kittens are Alice and Tansy. I'll let the photos speak for themselves...
Frances with her babies, five in all, but one is tucked under her arm
Seems like just yesterday, Frances was a kitten herself, now she's all grown up and having babies! Yes, the little minx came in to her first heat and managed to skinny out the door for some fun. It wasn't too hard to figure out she was pregnant as her appetite and tummy began to grow and everyday she looked bigger than the day before. Not long after the vet confirmed it, we could feel the babies kicking around inside.
She gave birth early morning on Tuesday. I called "Auntie" around 2:30 am and told her I thought the kittens were on the way, so she woke the kids and they all came over to watch. With me and my four and Cassi and her three (my husband opted out of the fun, but was updated often by the kids), we had our own little version of the Discovery Channel as we watched our sweet Frances give birth to five beautiful kittens! Poor mama had a hard time with the first as it was breech, but with a few loud (understatement... actually bone-chilling, ear-piercing, screaming) yowls, she managed to get the kitten out and the next four went smoothly.
home-grown roses from Auntie for Frances She has been such a good mama, purring constantly, licking and cleaning like a mad-woman and stretching her paws to cuddle her new babies.
I was able to get a few photos of a couple of the kittens, but I'll share more as I get them. Aren't they precious?
"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made." ~Roger Caras
I'm beginning to think our house is part of the underground railroad for stray cats. Three of our four kitties were strays and the fourth was the first kitten born from a pregnant stray we took in. Here's our most recent rescue, brought inside after mewing pathetically on our front porch all night. We've all fallen in love with her. I'm not sure how old she is, but I'm guessing around 7 or 9 months. We didn't have any success looking for the owner, so we've put a little collar on her and invited her to join the family. Needless to say, she's made herself quite at home. She and I had the house to ourselves for a while this morning. I played with her for a bit while I made my tea, then I left her to her own devices while I worked on the computer. So, what's a poor little kitty to do all by her lonesome?
As you can imagine, with four kids and eight pets, we're up to our ears in dirty laundry. A few times a year, we get caught up and we'll have a nice little stack of empty laundry baskets and my heart just does a cheery happy dance inside. I try to keep up the momentum, washing everything in sight, but eventually the laundry gods call my number and I'm faced with waist-high piles again.
Sometimes, the laundry gods will take pity on me and toss a few coins my way for encouragement. The other day, they really surprised me when I cleared the lint screen. I had just dried a bunch of new beach towels and when I pulled out the lint screen, it was covered in bright turquoise lint! Lucky me! (What can I say.... I'm easy to please)
A quick google search revealed there's several things you can do with lint: make home-made paper, make lint clay, use it as a fire starter, put it out for nesting materials for birds and use it for snugglies for your little animals. Aha! We have one of those! So, I gave it to our little guinea pig, Tin Tin, and he was visibly thrilled as you can see.
Fortunately we weren't feeding our pets any of the food on the recall lists (cat food, dog food), but it still prompted me to start making our own pet food at home. Although I'm sure there are good quality pet foods out there, I just don't feel I can trust any of the pet food manufacturers at this point. So, we're experimenting with the recipes we've found. If any of you are going through the same thing, you might want to check out these websites...
I also like this one because it was put together by a holistic veterinarian and seems to be nutritionally balanced. However, this is all new to me, so I'll continue to do some research and make adjustments. In the meantime, our dogs and cats are feeling especially pampered with all this home-cooking just for them.