two or three

A couple weeks ago we went to our neighbors for an outdoor dinner & fire. They had barn kitties looking for homes, so we agreed to take two. They said they tried to socialize the kittens, but they were very scared and scattered everywhere humans weren't. Hard to pick out what you can't see. Even the mama cats ran and hid. I caught a glimpse of a cute black kitty with white tipped paws and whiskers.

Imagine my surprise when the next day Brad said we should get "two or three". Shocker! This from the guy who doesn't like cats, and has put up with mine since day one. He thinks three will increase our odds of having a couple stick around.

When we went to pick them up they corralled the 8 week old kittens, or tried to. They still hid, but were easier to find. First one grabbed was a light grey cutie, which has since turned into a love bug. He is social, funny, loves to be held and purrs the entire time. He will crawl up on your lap if you ignore him.

The next one to come home with us was the black kitty with white paws that I wanted. It is small and very scared. I am still not sure of it's gender, think it's a female. This kitty is also playful and very fast. It has recently started purring when held, but unlike it's grey sibling would rather not be picked up.

Then came the third cat. Brad's cat. I told him if he wanted three, he had to pick it out!! I only wanted two. That poor third kitty was hissing and clawing, trying to escape when it got caught by it's tail :( and then by it's back leg. Dangling. Brad felt sorry for it, and promptly spoke up saying we will take that one too. Our neighbors are very kind people, I absolutely know it wasn't grabbed that way on purpose. It was just a wild crazy one. Still is.

We (mostly me) work with our kittens every day, multiple times. However my patience is wearing thin with Brad's untrusting cat. After days of gentling, I tried to kindly pick it up and the silly thing went bananas. Not that I blame it after it's past experience while being picked up. HIS CAT is going to take some serious time and patience. She (I think it's a she?) is coming around at a snails pace. There are some cats you just can't hold, and I think this may be one of them. Although Brad picked her up yesterday for the first time, and she didn't go crazy. Now he is a cat whisperer too {roll eyes} !!

My family have all warned me not to get close to these kittens. I am well aware the risk of loss with barn cats is profoundly higher. I still plan to get them fixed, feed them and give them basic vet care. I don't want sick cats hanging around, multiplying. We have not named them yet, everybody asks. I have a few ideas, but they are not all PC lol.

They live in one of the stalls for now, with tall cardboard blocking the slats. I put all kinds of fun cat loving things inside for their entertainment, most of which we had. I only bought one toy, and a soft pillow type bed on sale for $11. The little busy bodies use everything. They are a hoot to play with, chasing the dressage whip around.

The light grey kitty is sooo very sweet. I am considering finding him an inside home, or he may just be a well loved barn cat. 

Brad's cat is hiding under the far box, right flap

If you hang around long enough, all three come out to play
For now I am free feeding the kittens a high protein grain free dry kitten food. They also get a small can of shared wet kitten food most days as a treat, for less stress petting. I have high hopes that they will all survive, and stick around the barn. Time will tell. 


outside shift

Our land work has shifted from the inside to the outside, weather permitting. We are seeing dryer days, or at least occasional dryer days. Consequently our barn remains a work in progress. I am not much help with bendy, building or heavy duty type stuff but offer anyways. I think I just slow down the process :/ Most of what you'll see shared is all Brad's hard work, and work hard he does.

manure pit (politely labeled) 
freshly poured containing walls
Yard work is not a priority, but lessening constant sandy dirt tracked inside by multiple large dogs (& people) is. Over a span of several days Brad graded and graded, and graded some more, before spending our first hot weekend seeding and covering the sizable area between our house and barn. We went from an extended wet cool Spring to **bam** hot Summer! 

view from house deck of work in progress
view from driveway
view mid-way 
Ticks, coyotes and mosquitoes have taken the fun out of hiking with the dogs on our property this Spring. Sadly, our daily walks abruptly stopped. From what I can see our paths have become lush and overgrown. 

We ordered mosquito eradicators for around the house & barn, with hopes that after 15 days we should see improvement. 

mosquito eradicator
We planted three Autumn Blaze Red Maples along our driveway, where the Maples won't be an issue for our horses (they are toxic). Looking forward to seeing their Fall color! Happy Mother's Day to me!!

three new little trees, mid-left
Hay will be a challenge to put up this season in WI, due to wet weather. Our hot dry summer like weather lasted briefly. We are back to cooler days, which I like. Not ideal for growing things tho. 

Brad reseeded another field to grass hay. Two fields should provide us a healthy supply, and then some to sell. IF we ever get a good stretch of dry sunny weather. He also did most of the field work to replant two of our other fields back to alfalfa to sell. 

Autumn Maples with teeny tiny alfalfa in foreground.
The neighbors lawn is mid-strip, our new hay field behind.

A few weeks later we put in four apple trees at the bottom of our property. Cortland, McIntosh, Gala and Jonathan. Not sure how much we will spray etc, might just let them grow natural. I know I know apples get wormy, so we will be looking into a happy medium.

Brad up-cycled materials to build four protective cages.
Hopefully it gives the apple trees a fighting chance from destructive deer.
We are starting to designate a couple small garden beds. Repeat after me, ONLY A COUPLE garden beds!! We have waaay too many gardens at our old house. We put them in when we were younger and stupid ambitiously passionate about gardening. As you likely know, gardens are ever changing and never ending back breaking work. I learned the hard lesson many moons ago that planting Perennials doesn't mean forever, silly me. 

Altho I still love gardening, my body doesn't. Plans are to relocate some favorites perennials to our new home, return some beds at our old home to grass and redo the remaining. They need to be more manageable. Hopefully I can hand the care over...someday. This is one hefty goal, that I know won't get completely done. I'll be happy with whatever does get done.

For now, I am enjoying annuals and potted summer camp plants at our new home.

Brads old boots are made for planting

Barn post got finished & forged iron hanger mounted
I promptly refilled and hung repurposed baskets

New barn planters I "won" (the right to buy) at a fundraiser.
Table geranium is several years old, one of the plants I still overwinter *^*

Brad finished off westside of barn

He also built one raised veggie garden bed
to try, before possibly adding a couple more

Hope everything is going & growing well for all of you! Looking forward to catching up soon!!


build-a-barn ~ inside shift

After a much needed Winter break from our complex homestead project, we are back at it. Trying to finish up loose ends. Key word, trying. Both Brad and I are good at starting projects, finishing them not as much. We just keep chipping away, eventually things are completed. Here are some of those "chipped at" things:

The remaining Tack Room boards went up & got oiled...

Brad hung a sturdy wood shelf he built.
We may add a couple more on the same wall. Trying one out first. 
We decided on a swing rack for pads & blankets.

I don't care for the color but with more to hang, it will get covered. 
Sorting, so much sorting...
Jameson & Tank think our tack room looks oddly spacious, for now.

Tack room stuff had to get moved out to work on the walls.
See it temporarily in the barn aisle awaiting placement, hooks etc 
SO many decisions to be made...
Wash Stall has mats and a handy dandy shelf now. The garden hose is temporary. We use the wash area for a lot more then horses!
Our Saloon is almost completely trimmed. Almost. Next on this room to-do list is figuring out some type of counter, a refrigerator etc Not sure why we are calling it a Saloon. Hmmm? Maybe it will feel more fitting once it's done and there are a thing or two on the walls, and in the refrigerator. I am not into decorating, it's going to be a stretch. Won't have problems filling/emptying the refrigerator ;)

Saloon to date
Mechanical room door in Saloon
Our Barn Bathroom still needs light fixtures, sigh. We can't hang the mirror without vanity lights. I haven't been able to find anything simple that goes together, for both ceiling and vanity. I must be the pickiest person alive. Brad will be nodding his head when he reads this!!

Barn bathroom to date
No doubt I am forgetting other things that have been done since 2018 barn update. We are close to being done, and yet so far away. Inside work is on stand-by, for a rainy day. When WI weather improves, the inside work shifts to the outside. Outside update to come. Until then I hope everyone enjoys what is left of Spring, for too soon it will be Summer!