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Today's thoughts from Mudville

I had the best intentions to write often and, as is clear, I just never got around to it. So this post will be several items just to bring everyone up to speed.

As most know by now, we had a whopping big snowstorm a couple weeks ago. The weather man (or woman) said 4-8 inches. They missed that prediction by about 30 inches. The storm reminded me of the storm in 1993 when we got three feet of snow and all the mailboxes on the road looked like they were sitting on the snow covered ground when actually the snow was so deep that it came up to the mailbox sitting on the post. Same for this storm. In 1993 it was an adventure. I don't remember any real hardships. We got the front walk and driveway shoveled. Chores were a little more difficult but it was still exciting and fun. Amazing how 20 plus years can change our perception of things. It was beautiful....and a huge reminder that we are getting old and can't do what we once were able to do. For this storm shoveling and barn chores were immediately followed by a trip to the recliner and a nap. Depressing at best.

Ella (Ellie), the Bull Mastiff puppy, is growing like a weed and is now about 85 pounds. Tilt, the Lab and Poodle mix continues to be the happiest dog in the world but has now discovered the cats and seems more and more focused on chasing them. That worries me and we have decided, if the perfect home comes along, we will consider placing him. He wants a home where he gets to spend lots of time outside hiking and enjoying nature or with someone who will train him to do agility or some other active dog sport. He has the skills to even be a K-9 working with police but those jobs are few and far between. Pip, the Rat Terrier and Chihuahua cross continues to think she is the queen of the house and in the process aggravates every other dog in the house. If anyone wonders why tiny dogs get attacked by big dogs, just come and watch Pippi in action.

The two goats that are supplying us with milk, along with one family that owns on of the milkers, continue to amaze me. I am only milking once a day and I am getting a little over a gallon a day from the two. I've always been told that one way to dry a goat off is to milk once a day. These two are not only NOT stopping milk production, they are now increasing for spring. I'm hoping I can just continue milking these two for several years to come without breeding them. That will eliminate the production of babies that I refuse to send to auction and seldom find homes for that will commit to them for life. My goat population grows every spring and that is a bad thing.

We did have to put one cat to sleep over the winter. Miss Kitty became critically ill and after a short illness we realized it was time to say goodbye for now. Tootsie was diagnosed with kidney disease but she seems to be holding her own as long as we use a variety of methods to increase her fluid intake. She now gets canned food daily and we add water to that food to make a tasty broth. We also check her hydration regularly and give her sub Q fluids if we see she is dehydrating. The watered down canned food is so far making it unnecessary for us to administer fluids but we know it is only a matter of time before her kidneys fail and we will have to make that last dreaded decision. For now we are enjoying her and she is still enjoying life.

The SAFER Cats on the Border Project (free TNR)has now spayed or neutered about 480 cats since the beginning of the program. When extended out about three years, the math shows us that we have prevented the birth of hundreds of thousands of kittens that, for a variety of reasons, had no hope of finding a home. The program has also provided funds for life saving surgery for two colony cats and treatment for minor health issues for dozens of colony cats that came through the program. Most Trap, Neuter, Return programs do not provide funds for extensive medical work and we are so grateful to Paws & Claws Society, Inc for the funding that allows us to help these animals. We have transported 24 kittens to rescue groups out of our area (C.A.T.S. in Ocean City, NJ and Kizzy's Place in Vineland, NJ) where they have a better chance of finding a good home. Our little group of volunteers has also grown. It started with myself and Deb. Then Sally joined us as a foster home, trapper and transporter. We have now added two more foster homes, Kristen and Priscilla, and Priscilla is also learning how to trap. We still need foster homes!!! We celebrated World Spay Day on February 28th by sponsoring free spay and neuter for the mobile home parks in the Rome, PA area. We hope to expand this program for owned cats in the near future.

As many of you know, it is the beginning of kitten season and we already have four momma cats in our foster homes and colonies. Three of the mommas had their babies and we are waiting for the last to bless us with her litter. All of these kittens will be available for adoption between ten and twelve weeks old, once weaned, fixed, vaccinated and wormed. Moms are all negative for FeLV and FIV. Check our cat adoption page for photos and bios when they are old enough to pose for pictures.

In garden news, the garlic is popping up! I thought for sure the strange winter had killed this year's crop....but the plants are doing great. We did discover that we have to find better ways of preserving the garlic over the winter. A lot of it dried out. More on what we are going to do later.

The chickens are starting to lay eggs and we can't give the eggs away fast enough. The geese are also laying and the refrigerator is soon going to be so full of eggs there will be no room for anything else. Goose eggs are great for baking so we have plans to do a lot of cooking. Did I mention I'm not really a good cook...because I don't really like cooking?

I planted Jerusalem Artichokes last fall but so far they are not coming up. I suspect they didn't make it. But the blueberry bushes did survive the winter even after the goats stuck their heads through the fence and pulled the newly planted bushes out of the ground. I thought they were far enough from the fence to be safe. Wrong! The goats ate most of the leaves off so when I replanted them I didn't hold out much hope.

And last, we have had nothing but mud (even under three feet of snow) for the last month. Some stalls in the barn have been flooded for that long also. I don't remember mud season lasting this long .....EVER. Once everything dries out we have to look at fixing the drainage around the barn and adding fill to the stalls. Years of use and cleaning have created low spots in the big stalls that then flood every spring.

The thought for today....If you love your dog or cat, show that love by having them spayed or neutered. Don't contribute to the suffering caused by allowing the production of puppies and kittens. Allowing a litter to be born will do nothing but contribute to the horrific overpopulation problem of domestic pets in this country.

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