the good, the bad and the snow

we finally got something approaching snow down at the farm, today. we have not had a really good snowfall since we moved down here 2.5 years ago. not too strange, but i think all of us are a bit hungry for a real snowday, with enough snow to make a snowball out of. for a change, town had hardly anything, but we had i guess a bit over a quarter inch on the farm. Jenny went out early to take photos before it melted off, and got some really good ones.

news first, and then pics in the next entry. the good news: the goat shed is done! yay, Rev! we’ll add a pony wall inside, later, bur it is as done as we need it to be for the moment. goats are getting ever closer!

and other good news: our one remaining barn cat, Woodwose, is letting us pet her! she decided, apparently, that the Source of All Cat Food is worth purring about. she has let Alan pet her a couple times, let Jenny get near her the other day, and then last night, she let all four of us cluster around her, crouched on the barn floor with the door shut, the only light from Alan’s red headlamp, while she twined among us and accepted pets from all. She is sleek and golden-brown and beautiful. she looks well fed (as well she should! she gets the lure of wet food till we run out, free-access dry food forever, and all the mice she can possibly eat). and none of us have heard a mouse in there in the month that she’s been settling in. no more holes in the feed bags, either. Wose is a wonderful addition to the farm! and we’re all delighted that she has decided to like being petted.

bad news: Catchable died sometime Tuesday night. when Jenny went out in the morning to do the daily feeding, she was lying in her cage dead. We don’t know what killed her, though our best guess at this point is that she had some kind of intestinal parasite or disorder that prevented her from absorbing food nutrients properly. Her brother appears fine, as does Mama. Rabbit distress can be very difficult to detect, and we had only very minor signs that anything was amiss—she would be in the enclosed part of her condo when Alan went out in the evenings, but upon prompting, she’d come out and let herself be petted as usual, so he thought she must be okay, because she acted normally once he prompted her. She also appeared to be drinking somewhat less water than usual, but the weather has been cold and damp, and all the animals’ eating patterns are affected by temperature and humidity in the normal course of things. So this came as a sudden shock to us all.

Catchable was the sweetest of our rabbits, the best tempered, and we had hoped to keep her and breed her as a mama of many kits, for many years. She and her brother Uncatchable were survivors of the dog-massacre in Summer 08, when dogs broke in and killed 5 of our adult rabbits and left the bodies in the pens. Catchable and Uncatchable were still small, and hid inside the pallet that supported the food bins, which is where we found them that evening, among the carnage. That event was what led us to invest in Thistle the Livestock Guardian Dog, who has effectively prevented any further incidents since her arrival. Thistle loves her bunnies, and they sniff each other’s noses and are always happy to see each other. I think Thistle thinks of the buns as her little sisters. She and they are both white and fluffy, after all.

We offered her body to Coyote, in the wayback at the end of the property. our most domestic rabbit given to that piece of wildness that touches us, that moves through our lives at will. may coyote thrive, and the remaining rabbits grow stronger, guided by Catchable’s sweet spirit. requiescat in pace, little one.