Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Days

We've been hot and humid the last few days. All of our pastures have plentiful shade from both trees and shelters which is nice for the horses. They can graze in the shade around the wooded areas and stay cool. Of course some of them park themselves out in the sun and bake themselves which I don't understand, but it seems to make them happy so we go with it. For those that have been here in person you understand when I say no horse has to be out in the hot sun unless they choose to be as our pastures are FULL of mature trees and wooded areas along with their shelters. That is why I am convinced that some of our residents truly like to bask out in the sun as they certainly have other options!

We've also had some unwelcome visitors in the barn in the last week. We've been wondering how it was possible for Cloudy and Olivia, our two barn cats, to be going through the enormous amounts of cat food. We were sure they were being assisted in the consumption of the food but we didn't know what was helping them. On our nightly visit to tuck Mina and Jo, world's cutest fainting goats, in their stall each night I spotted a possum trying to knock over the trash can where we keep the cat food. The can has one of those snap tight lids so it couldn't get it open but no doubt it had already emptied out the food that was in the cat bowls.

I know many of you will disagree with this but the possum was quickly dispatched to a place where he/she can eat cat food for eternity and be happy. Trapping and relocating does no good as they just come back to the barn (we've tried this approach in the past). I have a live and let live philosophy when it comes to wildlife except when they decide they are comfortable entering the barn. Unfortunately nothing good ever comes from that and we end it quickly.

We thought we had the problem solved and then on another nightly visit to tuck in the fainting goats we heard Bear the schipperke causing a ruckus with something. Jason investigates behind the barn and Bear had caught and seriously injured another possum. We couldn't let the possum lay there in agony and suffer until he passed on and Bear did not seem inclined to finish the job he had started. Yet again we had the unhappy job of dispatching this possum as well. It was the only humane thing to do in the situation.

We definitely thought we were finished with the cat food stealers at this point. Last night we were tucking the fainting goats in as usual and I hear one of the cats hissing and growling in my tack room (where the cat food bowls are kept). I investigate and Cloudy is extremely unhappy over the raccoon eating his food. Jason and I were very unhappy about this but had no choice about sending Ms. Coon on to greener pastures. To say that Jason and I were very glum and melancholy as we went to bed would be an understatement. We have NEVER had this type of problem with animals in the barn, this is usually more of an every other year it happens type of thing. Hopefully we're done with dealing with barn visitors for at least a year or two.

Now that I've made us sound like terribly hard people to get along with I'll post some pictures of the horses!

Calling the boys up for breakfast one morning. Usually they are waiting but sometimes we have to call them. Trillion in the front with Asterik, Winston, Faune and Sebastian following.
Asterik has taken over the lead at this point
Asterik and Sebastian are in front with Trillion, Winston and Faune trotting along in tandem behind them
Bridget and Traveller grazing quietly (Lexi is behind Traveller)
Trillion, Winston and Asterik
Chili and Snappy
Front to back Baby, Ivan, Trigger and Apollo
Mares hanging out; Lily, Buffy and MyLight (Harmony's head is between Lily and Buffy)
Homer had a nice roll in the mud after the rain
He seemed pleased with the results
Lily grazing
MyLight and Buffy were lounging around together
More lounging from another angle


Dressager said...

At least they weren't snakes! Totally understand about the critters.... more than likely if it wasn't you it'd be someone else doing the same thing..... unless they decided to mess with PETA headquarters (hehe, that was bad ;D )

I love the front shot of MyLight and Buffy lounging from the front. So cute!

lytha said...

Ew, possoms! My friend had one using her cat door and just welcoming himself into her home!

I wish we had a cat or two, but my man is against the idea. However I know that if one just showed up, he would keep it. So, I am tempted to buy cat foot and leave it out in our barn, but we have such an odd variety of varmits that would come. There are no raccoons or possoms, but there are badgers, muskrats, foxes, martins, and hedgehogs. Martins are those things that look like ferrets and they like to chew up your car wiring. Cocky enough to run rampant through downtown, I think they would be our first unwelcome visitors if I left food out.

Darn it, I wish I could lure a cat without worrying about these things!

BTW, it is really beautiful to see mares that love each other like MyLight and Buffy do.


Anonymous said...

Sorry about the possums and racoons - they can be pests. We do have food out for our barn cat (actually barn cats as we also have a feral cat that hangs around), but it's up on a high table, and we haven't had too much trouble - may just be coincidence. We do have skunks strolling by from time to time, but so far not in the barn!

Love the pictures - the Lil looks quite relaxed!

Jason said...

We feed the barn cats in Melissa's tack room...totally enclosed so they can enjoy complete privacy while they eat (except for one board in the ceiling that goes up to the hay loft so they can get in and out).

ezra_pandora said...

I personally would have done the same thing. My big dog caught a coon that didn't quite make it across the yard in time. It was NOT a pretty sight. Thankfully she did finish the job as I was freaking out about rabies. My hubby grew up in the country and to him it was just another day. I'm sitting there wondering if big dog needed booster shots, if she's going to get sick, etc. lol Hope the kitties don't have any further food stealers.

Anonymous said...

I hate opossums. They are the one animal I would happily kill with no regrets, EPM carriers that they are.

Vivian, apollo's Mom said...

We have plenty of possums and racoons here in suburbia or outskirts of small town, Florida. The racoons have killed several of our chickens so they and the possums have been helped along to a better place; you know what I mean...I abhor possums as carriers of EPM as well.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with what you did, although it would pain me too and I understand how you feel. I had possums in my barn, but worse, I can a whole CLAN of raccoons that lived under the barn. I tried trapping, but they're way too smart for that. Since I didn't want to use poison and I don't have a gun, I had to deal with them on a regular basis. Ugh.

Hopefully this is the last of the critters that you and Jason will see for a while. On the positive side, those horses look SO HAPPY that I'm tempted to ask if I can retire to your farm, too. :-)

Jason said...

I appreciate all the understanding commments regarding our "wildlife" situation. I don't run around looking for things to kill, but if something decides it needs to live in the barn, unfortunately it needs to go. I HATE suffering of any type...as a consequence, I am an excellent marksman and I aim to make the first bullet a fatal shot. I believe that guns are necessary (if unpleasant) tools on most farms. For our safety and general efficacy, we try to use a small bore rifle (or a small shotgun) in the barn. We use higher powered small game rifles outside (think .243) for longer distances on the rare occasion it proves necessary.