Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Purrs and woofs

Guess who really, really, REALLY likes Tristan?

Redford the barn cat! And the feeling is oh-so-almost mutual.

And doesn't this just say everything you need to know about dogs and cats?

Redford is an amazing kitty. To think he spent two weeks in our garage without coming anywhere near me! Now he is at my side whenever I am outside. He helps me with the barn chores every single day. He follows Gordon everywhere too.

And he loves to hang with his buddy Tristan.

"Nothing to see here. Move along!"

He's a funny little guy. Still nervous, but he so wants to be touched. He still jumps if I move too quickly but I was thrilled the other day when I was finally able to lift him into my lap and have him stay there for a minute. I'm so glad he's here. He's a very sweet feline.

And we have a whole lot of orange in the family now...

Sigh. Redford remains the barn cat for now. I'm conflicted about that but we'll see how it goes. He does seem quite happy in his little realm, and fortunately he never seems to stray out of our garden area, so I'm hoping he'll stay safe. We are set to take in two more barn cats from friends who have too many cats. I'm hoping the three cats will eventually get along well and look out for each other (and keep the barn's rodent population in check!)

Meanwhile, Emerson has been hell-bent on getting outside. He managed it the other day and promptly did in a red squirrel...

And was MIGHTY PROUD. I would have felt more sorry for the squirrel had we not spent several hundred dollars twice in the last few years getting them out of the walls of our house!

Emerson clearly had no regrets. 

He does look a lot like Redford, but his fur is quite a bit lighter, more different from Redford's than I initally thought.

And here's why I've had trouble blogging as much I would have liked this summer...

The bees have kept me insanely busy this year. I'm relieved things are at last winding down. It has been an incredible summer for my bees, with the right combination of good bee weather and tons of forage.

I put bee escapes on all my hives yesterday so that I can take off the last 14 honey supers (boxes.) Right now I have nine boxes in the garage waiting for extraction. This year, the bees have filled a whopping 75 honey supers. Even at a conservative estimate of 25 lbs of honey per super, that comes out to 1,875 lbs of honey. I've only bottled 500 lbs so far but eventually I'll catch up. 

I've also never had this much upper body strength in my life. I lifted a very full super yesterday that must have weighed 50 lbs, and I had to put it on top of three other boxes. The thing is, you can't just slam the boxes down (unless you want squashed and pissed-off bees) so you're holding the heavy box in the air, trying to align it carefully before completely setting it down. At least, that's what I do, as I hate squishing bees. 

Last week, I was looking at full honey super I'd moved to the ground so I could add a bee escape (board you put under the honey supers so that the bees leave those boxes and can't get back in ) and thinking "There is no way I can lift that damn thing up again. I'm exhausted!) But what are you going to do when you have a box of bees that needs to go back on the hive, and no one else around to help? You tell yourself, "Just do it!" and voilà, it's done. 

My back is feeling a lot better this summer than last, so I think my careful lifting technique is working for me.

Anyway, I'm hoping to have more time for my blog (and blog reading!) as summer winds down. I've also been spending a lot of time writing for the memoir courses I've been taking, and when things quiet down, I am going to do another draft of the kids' book I wrote (about a bee, of course) and look for a book agent. 

But in the meantime I have hundreds of pounds of honey to deal with.

And how did I end up with seven cats, anyway?


  1. Hi Natalie, thanks for stopping by, and for the comforting words. I've been following you, but I've become a lurker.
    So glad Redford is doing so good and is happy. I think you should let Emerson out to be with him. The two obviously know each other :) but he has to learn to leave those poor little squirrels alone.
    Have a great bee-time!

  2. All of your orange animals are so pretty. Redford looks sweet. He found a good home when he stopped at your place.

  3. Our Harley was a stray kitten and was never good with dogs as I think she had a few close calls but when we got Miggs as a pup she was a bit miserable with her but then warmed up to her pretty quick and now Harley and Miggs are best buddies and love to play , she is an indoor cat as she wont go out side to scared and she is 6 years old now and still jumps gets startled at some sounds ! Glad to hear your getting a good crop from your bees . Cute post and photos ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

  4. Gosh, that was a very quickly formed friendship. I wish our cat could take lessons from Redford; he still eyes our 2 dogs suspiciously.

  5. I really love your photos!

  6. Pets who feel safe seem to like each other across their ethnic boundaries. Hmmmm....
    More barn cats eventually will make Redford happy, especially if they appear a kittens.

  7. I love these animal updates. So, what became of the squirrel?

    1. Emerson ate every last scrap of it save for one front paw and the tail, then slept soundly for many hours. He looked like the snake who swallowed an elephant (in Le Petit Prince)!

  8. You always make me smile! Unbelievable how Redford has settled in... and so quickly. He and Tristan go so well together. You know, if you do a family portrait, you and Gordon will have to dress in ginger.

  9. I love that Redford has settled in so well and made a friend in Tristan. They look so right together. My, you are one busy lady. But, I know you are doing what you love and wouldn't have it any other way. :))
    Sending hugs to everyone. Wish we had gotten together this summer but it has been pretty nuts here, too. Plans are moving forward with the building on the property and the cat-sitting is keeping me on the move. I'll send an email to you soon to let you know when the building starts.

  10. What a lovely read after a day of doing work that was not nearly as much fun. Fantastic that Tristan and Redford are bonding. Great photos!

    I can't believe how much honey you have!! That's a lot of work. Are you selling it to local grocers? That would be a delightful purchase.

  11. What a COLOSSAL amount of honey! I had no idea. I'll repeat Agi Tater's question. Where does it all go?

    (This was a very orange-themed post, from orange animals to amber honey) :)

  12. You have wonder how long poor old Redford was living on his own. Yes, on a good year the honey production can get out of control. Just think with all this honey you'll be rich!

  13. "And how did I end up with seven cats, anyway?" Boy, have I asked myself that question a lot... and the answer is always fairly obvious... what else can you do? And we've never regretted taking them in.

  14. Love the Redford/Tristan bond! Redford is coming along so nicely! And for some reason, even though I've never had an orange cat, I am smitten with Emerson.
    Wowza, that's a lotta honey!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!