Ok, I totally borrowed that title from Morrissey, but it was the only thing that kept running through my head today as I shot these photos. I love everything nautical. Well, not for me but for Anna. The past 9 birthdays have had nautical themes…or at least she’s worn a nautical-inspired dress or outfit. (The Hello Kitty cake request almost launched the nautical theme overboard on her 8th birthday…) Anna doesn’t appear to mind it, in fact she’s requesting origami boats and Hello Kitties on her birthday cake this year. I think I can create something like that. =)
So about a month ago our golden Pullet chicken, Goldilocks, was attacked by something. We found her laying under the hanging food bin and after calling to the chickens and seeing she wasn’t coming out, we picked her up. That’s when we saw the blood on her foot. Something, still not sure what, attacked her and really mangled one of her ‘fingers’ and palm. Frantic, we called all the vets in town and not one would look at a chicken. You have to understand, we’ve had our chickens since they were chicks last year, and consider them our pets (I mean seriously, they’re named!) We were mostly worried about infection, but in Pennsylvania you can’t even seem to get animal antibiotics at the feed stores. That meant we had to use whatever we had around us to try to save Goldilocks. We took a wardrobe box, laid it on its side, cut a huge hole out of the top, and filled it with pine shavings under a heat lamp in our basement. We have a big vat of silver sulfadiazine so we cleaned Goldi’s wound with copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide and then gobbed the silver cream all over her wound, then wrapped it up with sterile gauze. She survived the night. We kept cleaning her wound, changing bandages, and having her under the heat lamp, and she kept on living. Now that it’s getting warmer, we’re starting to bring her outside.
See, the thing is, she’s not standing. Her wounded ‘finger’ is fat and probably still hurts, so she won’t put any pressure on it. She’s eating, drinking, generally being a chicken sans laying eggs. But she needs to walk if she has any hope of being a normal chicken again. I really hope she can do it.
We’ve never lived in a place where we weren’t by the ocean, so living in Pennsylvania probably wasn’t the best pick for us. We think this in hindsight, of course. From Long Beach, California, to Reykjavik, Iceland, Alicante, Spain, Portland, Oregon……….to Oil City, PA. Odd choice right? Anyway, even though we’re right by the river, it just doesn’t equal the ocean. (plus I don’t think anyone goes in the Allegheny, not here.) So today’s painting is about a Summer Holiday to the beach, or to a pool, somewhere where there’s palm trees-oh how I suddenly miss palm trees!
Those of us with cats know this alarm very, very well! Whether you had your own alarm set for 6 or 7 a.m., the cats’ alarm comes around 3 a.m.
**Please scroll to bottom to see update!**
This is Stevie’s story. Stevie is a beautiful cat who was brought to our neighborhood by the next door neighbor’s adult son. He’d just moved back in to his mother’s house and brought with him a cat he found at his previous location. Naturally, Stevie wasn’t fixed and it took no time at all for her to get pregnant. Stevie frequented our porch to have a bite to eat, as we always have food out for the feral river cats, so we got to know her. She had three kittens in a closet of the neighbor’s house, and because they failed to provide any flea treatment, they kicked her and her flea-ridden kittens outside on the back porch in a box. One kitten was given away and they kept the other two and then decided Stevie wasn’t allowed in the house anymore for failure to get along. I understand people have outside cats, that’s fine, but what isn’t fine is having outside cats who aren’t vaccinated and spayed/neutered. So the inevitable happened. Stevie got pregnant again.
Then it started snowing, winter arrived and it was freezing cold outside. Stevie, as mentioned earlier, frequented our porch and turned to sitting on the back of our wicker furniture, looking in the windows at us. Sometimes pawing the glass. Our hearts melted and we realized she had no shelter and it was our job to provide some. Knowing she wasn’t fixed (it was already driving our indoor cats insane) and knowing her reputation of not getting along with others, we made my daughter’s room into Stevie’s Mother-in-waiting room. There she would be warm and safe, with ample food and water and love if she accepted it. I think she’s semi-feral, but having our own semi-feral cat already, Lily, we know to give them space and give love when it’s requested. It seems like Stevie has been pregnant forever, like literally forever.
Then finally, last night I went in to her room to spend some time with her, as she’s become increasingly loving, and I noticed a change in her behavior. She was bearing her stomach, allowing belly-rubs, and then I noticed a bit of discharge: the time was upon us! I grabbed my pillow and a blanket and moved into Stevie’s room to stay with her while he labor progressed. She seemed to really want the company, even crawling under the covers with me and purring so loudly, pussy-footing the air. Every time I would doze off, Stevie would pounce on the bed, meow, or wake me up by licking my face. The sun came and no kittens. So we took turns staying in the room with her, my Mother, my daughter, and me. It was on Anna’s watch that the first kitten arrived, feet-first. A sweet black tortie, with a white mask, stomach, and tiny white feet! He/she has been named, yes, named by my Mother as Willow.
An hour or so passed and Stevie had her second kitten, a beautiful ginger kitty we named Rosebud after our beloved Rosebud who passed 6 years ago. It’s been quite some hours since Rosebud was born and we’re thinking that’s it. Two kittens. /phew
They’re going to live with us because, well why wouldn’t they? Stevie will not be kicked out on to the street, we’re going to raise funds to get her fixed, as well as the kittens, AND the two kittens from next door (her first litter) who still aren’t fixed…and by the way are catching and killing bats. Did I mention they haven’t been vaccinated either? But I’ll save that rant, because today we’re celebrating two little lives, and the life of their mother, that deserve all the love we can give them. This was how we spent our April 12th, 2013.
**Update** A third kitten arrived overnight! I walked in Stevie’s room to check on her and there was a little grey kitten in the mix! We’re doing a fundraiser to get all of Stevie’s kittens fixed and vaccinated, including her two kittens that are killing bats…that live next door. If you can help: http://www.gofundme.com/2kzqvg Thanks so much!