DSCN0068So, we have got ourselves a new camera to try to take some photos of all the goings on on the smallholding and update the blog.

We decided to test the camera with Blotchy’s latest litter of kittens.  Blotchy the barn cat has now become Blotchy the house cat, as she disappeared during a cold snap while she was pregnant.

When she came back to the barn it became apparent that she was terrified of the baby goats, and I was worried that she would try to have her babies outside and lose them in the cold. So……..we decided to bring her home until she had had her kittens.  That was about 2 months ago, and I don’t think she has even looked out of the window yet.  She is completely contented at home and has produced a litter of 3 kittens.

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Having the kittens at home has been a totally different experience to having them at the barn, and they have kept us endlessly entertained.

After an hour of chasing kittens left, right and centre, rescuing them from behind the furniture, disentangling ourselves from the octopus – like grip of tiny legs and claws and trying to persuade all three of them to sit in the same place at the same time WITHOUT fighting, all the while trying to coax the new camera to take photos when I asked it to, NOT three seconds later as it appeared to want to do.  After an hour of sheer frustration, I handed the camera to the apprentice who produced three shots, apparently with ease!  Admittedly she cheated and took individual shots, not the group shot that I was aspiring to but, as you can see, she made a pretty good go of it!

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and a cat!

Mischief safe after her adventure

Mischief safe after her adventure

Miffy and Mischiefare two young sisters who share a hutch. They are this years babies so are still quite young and curious. One day, a couple of weeks ago, the apprentice called me in a panic. Miffy and Mischief had escaped! We managed to recapture Miffy quite easily, but Mischief was nowhere to be seen!

After searching until we ran out of daylight we finally accepted that Mischief was gone forever.

The next day we caught a glimpse of Mischief and the hunt started again. She obviously thought this was a great game and danced in and out of the bramble bushes and the shed. Twice I had her cornered and she managed to squeeze past me, and once the apprentice actually had a hand on her and still the little devil got away! We were now totally convinced that, either she would continue to evade capture and “turn native” or the cats (of which we have 4) would find her and eat her.

After a couple of days of this I had given up on ANY hope of catching Mischief, but every time we saw her I felt obliged to at least TRY to catch her. Then on the Saturday morning, after 3 days of hide and seek, we spotted her under the bramble bush gently hopping around exploring. Now, surely, we would catch her?

Shadow

Shadow

Enter Badger and Shadow stage right. Badger and Shadow are two of this year’s kittens – Badger was born in May and is a big strong cat now, and Shadow (his younger brother who was born in August) is devoted to him and follows him everywhere – hence why he is called Shadow.

Badger

Badger

So, we watched with some trepidation as Badger and Shadow set out under the brambles on Mischief’s trail. They crept up behind her……..she spotted them and turned around………they sniffed noses………Mischief hopped a few more steps……….Badger and Shadow followed………..sniffed noses again…….Badger turned around and walked off………Shadow and Mischief followed him……they stopped for a chat. And so it continued for about an hour and all we humans could do was watch in amazement as what looked like certain bunny carnage to begin with, ended up an amazing display of inter-species trust and “something”. I hesitate to call it friendship as who knows what was really going on in the minds of either the cat OR the rabbits, but the cats certainly weren’t looking for rabbit pie, and the rabbit saw absolutely no reason to run.

Having watched this amazing scene for an hour we finally managed to persuade Mischief into a “trap” and caught her once more. I have to say that, in spite of her apparent reluctance to be caught, she was very pleased to be back in her hutch with her sister and I don’t think she stopped eating for about two days afterwards!

I can honestly say that, between all the animals in the yard, they never fail to teach me something new!