Adventures Away From the Farm · Farmtastic Stories

We Came for the Giraffes

Fourteen years ago, Cowboy and I came to Glen Rose, Texas for the very first time.  As big time animal lovers, we had heard about Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and decided to make an overnight trip of it. We had absolutely no idea that one little overnight stay would change the course of our future.

On our day at Fossil Rim, we took a behind the scenes tour, rode around in an open-air Jeep, snapped tons of pictures (with actual film!), and made memories at every turn.  And then we saw them.  The majestic giraffes.

A combination of gangly grace, long eyelashes, and sticky sweet tongues.  I had never been so close to these amazing creatures, and I was quickly falling head over heels in love.  Our guide, the legendary Jan Bussey, parked near the herd and shared her knowledge and passion for Fossil Rim while we hand fed these beauties.

Oh my stars.  I think I could have parked there all day head pointed up, hands outstretched, smile plastered across my face, and heart leaping for joy.  I had found my spot.

Cowboy and I never forgot that trip. In fact, living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex,  Fossil Rim became our go-to daytrip for birthdays, anniversaries, or just a day out.  We brought friends and family.  We became ambassadors, telling anyone who would listen about the landscape and critters of Fossil Rim, most especially my beloved giraffes.

Not too long after we began visiting Glen Rose, Cowboy and I started looking for land, an escape from the city.  We looked far and wide, even as far north as Oklahoma.  We saw little pieces and big pieces of land.  Some with houses, some without, and some with houses that weren’t long for this world.  Looking became our weekend occupation, as we bumped along miles and miles of country roads.

And then one day, Cowboy looked at me and said, “You know, I’m not sure why we’re looking all over the place.  Wherever we go, we are going to have to drive to Fossil Rim, so we might as well be close.”

Have I told you that man is a genius?  So just like that our search was narrowed to the tippy top of the hill country, where the deer and the giraffes roam.  

And the rest is, as they say, history.  Ten years ago we bought our dream place, and seven years ago we built our barndominium and moved into Wild Horse Valley.  We filled it with our own little zoo of horses, donkeys, cats, and dogs. And we still love to visit Fossil Rim, and even volunteer when we can.  In all these years, it still takes my breath away.

In fact, October is one of my absolute favorites at the Rim.  The weather is cooler, the animals are frisky, and if you time it just right you can catch the European Red Deer in rutting season and hear their soulful bugling across the park.

My Farmtastic Life - Giraffes at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
A friendly giraffe coming to say hello. If you look closely you’ll see several in the background, and also a gaggle of European Red Deer relaxing in the shade.

It’s easy to take for granted sharing your town with giraffes, rhinos, and cheetahs, but it is truly a gift.  If you are in the area, I encourage you drive on out to the Rim, soak up some sunshine, and sit in wonder of our tall neighbors. But I must say, be careful.  You may come for the giraffes and find yourself staying for so much more.

P.S. A version of this post was published in the Glen Rose Reporter.  This farmgirl is delighted to serve as a community columnist.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Smokey’s Eye

No, this is not a post about smudged eye makeup trends.  It’s about our soft-hearted fella of a horse and his journey back to health.

For those of you who follow us on Facebook and Instagram, back in the spring, you saw pics of our big grey mustang Smokey in the equine (a.k.a. horsey) hospital with an eye injury.  This is his story.

Horses are fun-loving creatures with big personalities, big bodies, and some times they can get themselves into big trouble.  Because we live on a farm with trees and fences and stalls, sometimes these precious babies injury themselves.  And try as you might, you simply just can’t fool-proof your farm.  (I mean, seriously, we’ve got horses who can open gates, but that is for another time.)

One spring evening at feeding time, Smokey moseyed up to his stall as usual for a snack.  But this time, something wasn’t quite right. He had his right eye shut tight, tears streaming down his cheek.

After a little eyelid wrangling, we could see he had something going on with the eyeball itself, and made an after hours call to the vet.  Two things to note here. First, trying to pry open a horse’s eye against his will, oh holy cats that is not easy.  It’s a crazy combination of eyelids of steel and a bobbing head.  Second, as we’ve said before, these things don’t happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Nope, if we are going to injure ourselves, we’re going to do it right. No sense in playing games.

It was quickly determined the next morning that he had, in fact, scratched the eye. Drat!  The remedy?  Eye meds four times a day should do the trick.  Did you see my comment above about strong eyelids?  Well it got to be a game. We’d look out and see him with his eye wide open. He’d see us, and yep, you guessed it, he’d slam it shut.  Quite honestly, he was just tired of us messing with him.

Seven days went by, and the vet came back out and determined that not enough progress was being made.  Smokey was at risk of going blind in that eye. In order to save his vision, he would have to go the horsey hospital where they could put an IV system through his eyelid and dispense medication directly to the eye.  (Oh if I could have reasoned with this big beast and told him what was coming, he may have opened his eyelids big and wide.)

My Farmtastic Life - Smokey the mustang heals from an eye injury
Smokey bending down to sniff and be petted. I sat on the floor of his stall, talking to him.

So off he went.  It was slow going.  And after a week, not only did he still have the eye issue, Smokey decided he didn’t want to eat much and developed a fever.  Not eat?  That horse has never missed a meal.

Here’s the deal. Horses are herd animals, and mustangs especially. Smokey was born in the wild to a herd, and ever since he arrived at the farm he had his band of fellas, one bossy mare, and two ornery donkeys.  Smokey doesn’t leave the farm.  It’s his sanctuary.  He hates change and snorts and blows at anything different just to let you know he’s paying attention. Heck, once our farrier (that’s a horse pedicure giver for our city friends) showed up in a different vehicle, and Smokey was all about letting us know something changed.  He’s observant. To a fault.

So Cowboy and I decided we had to go visit our fella and see if we could help figure out what had him down.  I had the wild idea that maybe if we could bring him a sense of home, he’d relax.  So I took an old towel and trudged out to the pasture rubbing down all the horses to capture their scents.  Yes, they all looked at me funny, quite suspicious, and probably convinced I was just a bit nuts.  Cowboy also thought I was slightly off my rocker, but as he always does, he just obliged me.

My Farmtastic Life - Smokey the mustang healing from an eye injury
Smokey sniffing his towel and finding comfort in the scents of home.

Off to the vet we went, towel in hand.  Oh if I could just adequately describe that moment.  Smokey sniffed and sniffed.  He touched his nose to the towel. He visibly perked up.  He would move his nose to the towel and then back to take a bite of hay.  He was eating!!!  He softened to our touch. He was relaxing. My heart was aching for our big grey soulstang – he missed his herd, the people and the four-legged ones.

So Cowboy and I made a promise to him.  For the rest of his stay, no matter how long it took, every day one of us would try our best to make the 60-plus mile round trip to talk to him, to brush him, to comfort him.  And just like magic, it worked.  Slowly but surely, he settled in, his appetite returned, the fever left, and he healed.  It took nearly three weeks, but Smokey still had his sight and an even bigger heart.

My Farmastic Life - Smokey the mustang heads home
The veterinary staff getting ready to load Smokey up for the trip home. Let’s just say, this fella is not a the easiest loader. (The patches on his neck were from his IVs. Such a fashion statement.)

These horses continue to teach us so much.  No one wants to be alone in this world, and when we’re hurting and scared the most is when we need the touch, the scent, the spirit of home.  And if we soak in the healing, we too will be able to see again.

P.S.  Big thanks to our amazing vets, especially Dr. Imel, at Peak Performance Equine Hospital.  They are simply the best.  They allowed us to visit Smokey as often as possible, texted us with morning updates, and took the best possible care of our fella.  We will be eternally grateful.

 

 

 

 

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Adventures Away From the Farm · Farmtastic Stories

Musical Cars

This weekend I was lucky enough to have a dear friend visit the farm for a farmgirl getaway weekend.  We floated in the pool, took pics of the critters, explored the surrounding small towns, and ate some scrumptious goodies (boy did we do some sampling).  We bonded, laughed, shared personal stories, and discovered that our lives are similar in ways we never imagined. To say it was a great weekend is an understatement.  

And as quickly as she arrived, it was time to say goodbye.  And that is when I saw my friend show grace, compassion, and humor beyond measure.  (We’ll call that lesson one in this tale of three lessons.)

A few things you need to know to put this next part in perspective:

  1. We live nearly two hours from the airport, so leaving on time is imperative for making flights.  
  2. I have a bit of a sensitive, and at times, unpredictable stomach.  And as we all know, when stomachs command your attention, well there is just no arguing.
  3. My friend had a morning flight.

We had decided we needed to leave at 7:15 a.m. in order for her to her make her flight home. As I mentioned above, we had partaken in some amazing food the day before as we sampled our way through Hico, Texas. At 4 a.m. on the morning of departure all that sampling demanded that I pay the price and the gurgling and cramping started.  (We’ll just stop right there with those details, for all of our sakes.)  

Surely I would feel better by 7:15 a.m.  I just had to.  To boot, Cowboy had been out at a prior commitment and would be on his way home at this time, so he could not take her.  Uber – well let’s just get serious for a minute.  We live out, way out.  So clearly I had to get it together.

So we loaded into the car, and not even 5 miles into the 90 mile drive I started with the deep breathing trying to calm my queasy stomach. Think lamaze breathing – not my finest moment. My sweet friend never showed one ounce of concern for her flight, but rather was more concerned about me.   God bless her.

“We’ll make it. But I might have to make a pit stop at my parents’ house. We’ll pass them on the way,” I squeaked out between huffs and puffs.

I slammed into my parents’ driveway, flew out the car and woke the house up at 7:30 a.m. as I dashed to the watercloset, leaving my dear sweet gracious gal pal waiting in the car.

Then lesson number two came from this grand adventure – my family will do anything for each other.  My dad got dressed lickety split and said, “Let me take her. I can make it.  You need to stay where you are going to be okay.”

Musical cars here we come.  So my smiling friend hugged me goodbye, swapped her stuff to Dad’s truck, and off they went.  Now to say my guilt was running high was an understatement.  This was my friend.  I wanted to take her to the airport.  

After 15 minutes of hand wringing, I learned my dad and friend were still in town at the gas station filling up.  My stomach seemed to be calming down, and I knew I needed to get her to the airport ASAP.  So, you guessed it, I sped to the gas station and we swapped cars once again.  We were on our way bumping and speeding along, laughing at the craziness.  

Then Cowboy called. He was tracking me on my phone and saw that I had stopped at my parents.  He knew I wasn’t feeling well.  He was just 20 minutes up the road, headed our way, and he could take over and get her there faster than any of us. Plus, Cowboy knows about 20 ways to get from point A to point B, so if we had any chance of helping her make her flight, he was the man for the job.

So the third lesson of the trip, the lesson I know the best, Cowboy is AMAZING.  We met up, swapped once more (man her luggage had the frequent flyer miles going at this point), hugged (again) and said goodbye (again – with loads of laughter), and Cowboy got her all the way to the airport in plenty of time.  And I’m super glad he did, because I didn’t even make it all the way back to the farm before my stomach commanded yet another scenic side trip.

Not one time did my friend complain. Not one time did she make me feel guilty.  In fact she told me later how much she enjoyed her visits with my dad and Cowboy.  Gosh, I just adore her.

Folks, that is true grace and compassion in action across the board.  To say that I am grateful, well that is an understatement.  It was a reminder of the friends and family in my life that are blessings to me each day.  

You just never know when a little bit of patience, love, and willingness to chip in is going to touch someone deep down where it counts.  Oh, and let’s just say I’m back on a diet of grilled chicken, rice, and veggies. Yum! 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Holy Sheep

Over the years, we’ve had lots of critters wander onto the farm.  We’ve had the duck who landed out of nowhere, Yeller Feller the tailless cat who made pals with my dad, and of course the most famous stray of all, Goober who stole my heart and has stayed here at the farm.  But last week we had one of the strangest arrivals yet – a random sheep.  Yep, you heard me correctly, a Mary-had-a-little-lamb bonafide sheep.

Out in the distance Cowboy and I saw something white, but we dismissed it.  It was near a neighbor’s fence and wasn’t moving, so we thought maybe they had set something near their fence.  No biggie.

Then came day two.  As we drove into our front gate, the white thing moved. Cowboy and I looked at each other and in unison said, “Is that a sheep?”

Well my rescue mama instincts kicked in and before I would even let Cowboy get the gate shut, I had us riding through the pasture to check it out.  Poor old gal was hiding in the cedar trees and was super nervous.  Most disturbing of all, someone had put a collar of some sort around her neck, and it looked tight, seriously tight.  Now my worried farm mama kicked in, right along side of my what-are-people-doing-fury critter protector mama.  Needless to say I was a bundle of emotions and personalities.

Poor old gal was so nervous that there was no getting close to her.  Heartsick, we took some hay to her resting spot in the trees, prayed she’d realize that we were her friends, and most importantly find the water trough in the pasture.

Driving back to the barn, I said, “What are we going to do with Babalu?”

“You’ve already named her? Seriously?” Cowboy asked, shaking his head.

“Of course.  She has to have name.”

“Babalu?” he replied, looking at me incredulously.

“You know, I Love Lucy?  Ricky sang Babalu.  Sheep say baa baa.”

I’ll just let you imagine the side eye crazy look I was getting at this time.  I thought I was super clever; he clearly thought I was nuts.  As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  But I digress …

My Farmtastice Life - Babalu the sheep
Babalu soaking up the sunshine and munching the grasses. Thanks to our dear friend Trey McIntyre for capturing some pics of this old gal.

Over the next couple of days, Cowboy and I would take turns wandering out into the pasture, taking a knee, and trying to make friends.  Holy sheep, she was not having it.  The best we could do was get within five feet.  And I thought donkeys were stubborn?

Nothing breaks this farmgirl’s heart more than an animal she can’t reach.  Most of all we wanted to get that collar off of her.  Lucky for us, we also have amazing neighbors, who keep cows in our pastures.  After we gave them a heads up about Babalu, they also kept a daily lookout for her.  I guess you could say we were all officially on sheep watch.

Truth is, our pasture is not fenced for sheep and Babalu could have easily gotten out, but she chose to stay.  With grass a plenty and fresh water, and I’m quite sure all the farm critters whispering that she had found a sanctuary, she miraculously stayed.

I am delighted to report that earlier this week our amazing neighbors caught dear Babalu when she came up to visit the cows during feeding time.  They loosened her collar, took her sweet self down to another pasture that was better for sheep, and planned to get her settled with friends who have other goats and sheep.

Can I just tell you the look of sheer joy that came over Cowboy’s face when I got off the phone with the neighbors and said, “They caught Babalu and they have a place for her.”

Now I knew he was grinning because he was thinking, “Thank you, Lord.  We do not have to build a sheep pen and add another feed type to our supply list.”  Because we all know that was a very real possibility with me.  But I also like to think he was grinning because Babalu had found safety and rest.

Even the least of us deserves safety and rest.

P.S. We have no idea if Babalu wandered onto our place or someone dumped her off.  Regardless, the collar situation, her advanced age, and her skinny condition lead me to believe that life hasn’t always been kind to her.  Please people, if you have an animal you can no longer care for, give them a chance – call a rescue, a sanctuary, a friend.  They deserve better from us.

 

 

 

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Skunked!

My Farmtastic Life - Maybelle the dog gets skunked
Maybelle after one of her multiple baths from her skunk adventure. Doesn’t she look thrilled? Bless her little heart!

Farm life can be idyllic, and it can also be downright nuts.  This week definitely fell into the latter category.  After the high of getting to bring our mustang Smokey home after 20 days in the horsey hospital (more to come on that adventure), Cowboy and I were exhausted and decided to head to bed a little early.

Nightly chores under way, we were so close to crawling under the covers that I could just hear sleep calling us.  Last chore – let the pooches out for their nightly visit with mother nature before we all snuggled up in bed.

As I stood in the kitchen, Cowboy said, “Hey come here, something is odd.  There is all this fog in the air.”

I took one step toward the front door and yelled, “Skunk! Oh my gosh, Maybelle’s been skunked.”

Why did Cowboy not recognize this right away? Well because, bless his heart, he had the amazing timing of missing the only other episode we’ve had on the farm.  And because it literally just happened, the smell was strange and strong, but it took a few minutes to set in with that ewe-we-just-passed-a-skunk-on-the-road smell we all know and love.

Well in the less than two minutes of this exchange, Maybelle, in all of her glory, dashed in the house before we could stop her, flew up onto the sofa with the flare of a pole vaulter, and began rubbing herself up and down all the cushions in a desperate attempt to rid the  skunk smell.  All. Over. Every. Inch. Of. The. Sofa!

Oh my good gravy what a mess.  It was a three-ring circus  as we rushed to get all the dogs back outside and began doing the oh so fun job of sniffing them all to see who else made friends with Pepe Le Pew. Lucky for us, it appeared to just be Maybelle.

All of the sudden I became a drill sergeant and the orders started flying.  Take the cover off the sofa and get it in the washing machine NOW.  Open the windows. Light a candle.  Find that homemade de-skunk concoction on the Internet.

Thank goodness Cowboy is a patient man, and when I ratchet it up a notch or 20 that man just calms down and goes into action.

In less than 10 minutes we had mixed up the peroxide-baking soda-dish soap mix and were slathering it all over Maybelle.   Let’s just hope Google satellites were not taking nighttime farm pics, as Cowboy I were out on the front porch in our jammies, hose going, latex gloves on, and sniffing and washing dogs.  At one point, Cowboy even put Maybelle in the pool for a quick swim. Anything to make that smell go away.

In an effort to gain some modicum of relief, Cowboy opened the doors from one end of the house to the other and used fans to move air through the house.  Great idea, and it actually worked.

However, we have inside cats.  That left us parked outside the doors yelling, “Hey. Stop.  Not outside.” Cats, as I’m sure you can imagine, are not great listeners.  Cowboy had to hustle after Rhino the cat on more than one occasion.  Some choice words may have been said, but hey at this point who’s counting?

On the plus side, it wasn’t raining or cold and the stars were beautiful.  Trust me, there’s always a silver lining.

After much washing, mopping, and breath holding, we finally made it to bed.  And yes, princess skunks-a-lot insisted on snuggling me.  So I wrapped her in towels and held her and my breath. Yes, I’m a sucker.

After far too little shut eye, we work up at 2 a.m. (yes, 2 a.m.) to find the inside cats had knocked the screens out of the windows and were having a play date in the yard. Yes, the same yard where we had just hours earlier found a skunk.  Oh for the love of all things holy, I said a quick prayer that they had not found Mr. Le Pew’s cousin.  Good news on that front, they were just escapees – normal smelling escapees.

Grabbing flashlights, Cowboy and I sprang into action and played 22-cat pick-up in the yard. (Okay, it was only two, but seriously at this point we were darn near delirious.)  As soon as I got my hands on Shadow, the instigator, she promptly vomited, as evidently on her grand adventure she chose to eat dandelions.  Seriously?  She couldn’t at least use her time to track down a mouse or two?

And again, back to bed we went.  Dear lord, would this night ever end?

Well we are several days out now.  Maybelle has been to the vet to get all caught up on shots and to be checked out.  She needed eye drops as she took a direct spray to the face.  Sadly, our sofa did not make it, may it rest in peace.  So a new sofa is on its way to the farm, along with a new collar for Maybelle.  We’ve tried multiple solutions and slowly she is smelling less like a skunk, however she’s still far from smelling like roses.

The worst part? I’m quite sure if that little pup sees a skunk again, she’ll be right back out there on the chase thinking she’s found another friend.  On that note, for the foreseeable future, Cowboy will be doing skunk patrol prior to our nighttime chores.  Gosh, I love that man!

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

We Simply Love Them

I have a confession to make. I’m not one of those girls who can claim I’ve always loved horses. In fact, the truth is for most of my life, horses have downright scared me.  I much preferred it if there was a fence or two between me and them. (I know, hold your shock.)

Now don’t get me wrong, all you have to do is take one look at our Meet the Farm page to know that Cowboy and I are animal lovers of the highest magnitude.  But I also understand that horses are bigger and more powerful than me, and definitely have minds of their own.  Boy, do they have minds of their own.  In fact, they’ve often awakened the fight or flight in me, and the few times I’d been around them in my past they had me on the flight side of the fence.

For example, as a kid I had taken a ride at a stable with our youth group, which seems to be a harmless right of passage for lots of kids.  I was excited to try it out, but being vertically challenged, they couldn’t make my stirrups short enough. However,  with a mischievous smile they told me not to worry, I was on a gentle ride, and all I needed to do was loosely hang on.  Hmmm ….  should have been warning sign number one, don’t ya think?

Warning number two – the guides told us absolutely no screaming, as the horses were trained to run if you yelled, thinking you were in danger.  Fabulous,  simply fabulous. So there I sat, feet dangling in the top of the stirrups keeping quiet.  Not an easy task for a girl whose first grade teacher called her motor mouth and mouth of the south (but that’s another story).

Well you guessed it, my horse trotted, loped, and flat out ran for the barn.  Picture a puny 13-year-old whisper-yelling, “Help, help, help!” while trying desperately to keep her bum from bumping right off that horse.  Not surprisingly, the flight thing came naturally after that.

My Farmtastic Life Photo - Smokey and Ranger, American Mustangts
Smoke in the Valley (a.k.a. Smokey) and Lone Star Ranger (a.k.a. Ranger) having a nice little munch. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of them – and just looks like love to me!

Enter 2008.  Cowboy and I attended the Extreme Mustang Makeover, sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, in Fort Worth, Texas.  Holy cats (or should I say horses), what a show!  Patriotic, majestic, amazing.  We walked the barns looking at these mustang horses, and there was just something in their eyes. It went right down to my soul.  And a tiny voice whispered, “Could you possibly be a horse person?”

My Farmtastic Life - Ranger
Ranger as a yearling. You could already tell that fella was going to have great hair and a crazy fun personality.

Then came the yearlings’ stalls.  And one very special little guy trained by one special little girl did me in.  She had done a great job with her fella, but had other horses at home, and so this one needed a fur-ever home. You know what’s coming next, right?  One little mustang yearling was adopted that day and headed home with me and Cowboy.

Fast forward more than eight years later, and Lone Star Ranger has changed my life.  We’ve got two more mustangs, one aging quarter horse, and two charming donkeys. I’m a horse person now.  Who knew?

But what does that really mean anyway?  No, my house is not decked out in western regalia; I don’t run around in cowgirl boots most of the time; and I don’t have a desire to be the rodeo queen (trust me, this is a good thing for all involved).

But these horses have a story and that speaks to me in a million ways.  Most of the time when we meet other horse folks, the first thing they ask me is, “What do you do with them?” I’m not sure why this is, but Cowboy and I have experienced it over and over.   Everyone expects you to DO something to justify why you have them.

My Farmtastic Life Photo - Mustang River
Mustang number three – A River Runs Wild, a.k.a. River. This guy had a rough start, but he’s probably the biggest lover we’ve got.

 I often feel sheepish as I know they are waiting for me to impress them with tales of riding or rodeo antics.  And the truth was I used to always feel guilty because I wasn’t a great rider, heck if I’m honest, riding still scares me.

And then one day, someone asked me once again, and the right answer finally came to me.  We love them. We simply love them.

Because that is the truth.  They got their second chance at life and love at the farm, and they are our family members.  We even moved to the farm so that they would have room to roam and play, and yes that is also why we ended up with more.  (Just a friendly warning, horses are like potato chips.  One is never enough.)

We’ve built stalls and runs. We brush them, share carrot snacks, and love on them.  Sometimes Cowboy even rides them. (I don’t call him Cowboy for nothing.)

Could this have happened with any horse?  Maybe, but I like to think it’s the magic of the mustang.  The deep connection they make with their humans.  They simply love us.

P.S. A version of this story was submitted to the America’s Mustang Essay Contest.  While I was not a winner, these great equines make me feel like a winner each day.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Spa Kitty

You’ve met Bear in past posts; he’s the quirky little cat who starred in Toilet Cat.  Well, never one to disappoint, he’s developed a new habit this winter season.  He’s expanded his repertoire in the powder room to perching up high on the cabinets and worshipping the  heating vents and shower steam.  We’ve now upgraded him to spa kitty. Quite the promotion, if you ask me.

It’s his own personal spa day – every day.  That’s just how he rolls.  When he hears Cowboy or I head to shower and the whirring sound of the bathroom heater and ventilator kick on, he just can’t help himself but mosey in and head to the highest spot.  I mean, what cat couldn’t use a steam.

My Farmtastic Life Photo - Bear the Cat
Having his own personal spa day moment – Bear soaks up the shower steam.

If you peak around the shower curtain, you’ll see him sitting like an ancient Egyptian cat with his head turned just so, eyes closed, and tailed curled neatly around his feet. You can practically here him meditating.  Ohm. Meow. Ohm.  It never fails to to make me crack a smile and shake my head.    When I head to the door squeaky clean ready to exit my warm steamy bliss, he pops open an eye and gives me a look as if to say, “Seriously?  Just one more  minute.  Meowy-please?”

I reach up to scratch his ears, and assure him he’ll have another spa day soon.  Depending on how much dirt we kick up outside, it could be sooner than he thinks.  What a character.

On top of his excellent bathroom manners, Bear is a curious little fellow.  He’s a lanky thing, barely weighing in at seven pounds and has a leap like none I’ve ever seen.  He’s amazingly lovable, but only when he chooses to be.  (Hey, I said he was a cat.)  Born on the farm, to the once feral Shadow, I must admit he was the scrawniest of the kittens, and I originally thought that he lacked personality.  Boy, was I mistaken.

He meows when you call his name. Not the angry meow of what-do-you-want-with-me, but more the sweet answer of hey-what’s-up.  (Yes, I speak cat, and for that matter dog and horse and donkey.  I’ve tried to convince Cowboy that I also speak goat and chicken, but he says I speak enough languages for the moment.)  Back to Bear …

Bear talks A LOT, so on top of such nicknames as toilet cat and spa kitty, he’s also been called Beartholameow, also his hashtag on Instagram.  Such a modern cat.

So as this winter warms to spring, the bathroom heater will be taking a break, much to Bear’s chagrin.  Bless his little heart.