cat in a sweater

Sounds a little crazy, right? Especially in the middle of Summer. But this little knitted cat has “special needs”. I used a pattern from the “Knit Your Own Cat” book, but modified the black and white areas to match my friend’s cat… for her birthday. And I used a modified, miniaturized version of this dog sweater pattern from Drops for the sweater. I think she turned out pretty sweet.

In Memoriam: Holstein : 2008-2013

knitted black and white cat in a purple sweater

knitted black and white cat in a purple sweater

knitted black and white cat in a purple sweater

It’s also my sweet son’s birthday today! He’s hit the double digits, I can’t believe it! Happy 10th birthday, Jonah!!!

jonah-is-10

Wanted: Weapons of Mass Raccoon Distruction

Or I guess preferably just a Mass Raccoon Deterrent would be the kinder/wiser choice. (we’re supposed to be a Quaker family, after all) Here is a text message chain between me and my husband this morning (he’s at home, I’m at work). Note the times:

raccoon-texts

What??? 10:10am and they are still prowling? I’ve gotta get on some of these solutions you all have suggested this weekend. Thanks for the advice. Dog urine… will look for dog to borrow. I’ve heard coyote urine is the best, but we have actual coyotes in our city and we DO NOT want to attract those either! I’ve also heard human urine might work, so that would be the easiest. And water sprays, like a motion activated sprinkler, but the “Chix” would not approve of that, I’m sure. I’ve also heard the “peaceful-negotiation” idea of feeding them, so they wouldn’t be so hungry for live chickens, and that this works with my friend’s outdoor cats, but I’m guessing that would only encourage them to keep coming around, and we don’t want them immigrating into our yard for sure! S0 the battle continues… it’s all-out war on raccoons now!

The Villains Return

The other morning, we had a surprise visit from our fiendish neighborhood raccoons, whom we haven’t seen since last summer, when they heartlessly pulled one of our pullets out of a ventilation hole in the coop during the night and devoured her, then made a return appearance about a month later in the early morning to try to make another meal out of our remaining hens. Luckily, during their second attempt I was awake, heard the commotion and was able to scare them away, foiling their evil plot.

We hadn’t seen them in our yard since, but who knows if they have been prowling around at night. Probably. But we had given our coop a better predator proofing after the first attack, so the girls have been well defended during the night.

Despite our hopes that we had seen the last of these monsters, it seems this is not the case. On the morning in question, I had let the girls out at dawn, after they had started their usual begging for release, and gone back to bed, hoping for a bit more sleep, especially since I was fighting the flu. But shortly thereafter, I heard loud, quick squawking accompanied by wing flapping, and I knew something was wrong. I raced to the window and saw a raccoon chasing Gloria across the yard. I promptly started yelling at it, then hurried outside to try to stop it. When it saw me, it did indeed stop, but just stood its ground and stared me down. I grabbed the nearest weapon I could find, a spray bottle full of water, and threw it at the beast. I missed by a couple of feet, but managed to scare it back into the bushes. Meanwhile, Gloria had run over and slipped into the garage behind me to hide.

During this battle, Cleo was nowhere in sight, so I went to check on her. She was up in the coop, probably trying to lay her morning egg, but she came down at my approach, and started squawking up at the fence. I looked up to see the raccoon (or it’s companion) in our neighbor’s tree watching us. So I locked Cleo back in the coop, and went to get Gloria to do the same, planning to keep them in there until we were sure the danger was gone.

Gloria had found a good hiding place in the garage, and was reluctant to come out, so it took some time for Jonah & I (of course the action had woken him up as well) to find her and coax her out with a handful of oats. But once she was brave enough to venture out, she was grateful for the oats, so I then scooped her up and took her to the coop as well.

I really hope we’ve seen the last of these mongrels, or that at least we won’t have to battle them again for quite awhile, but in the meantime, I think I’ll wait to let the girls out in the morning until the sun has fully risen. Hopefully by that time, the villains will have gone back to their secret lair for the day.

backyard chicken in coop

poor traumatized Gloria