Monthly Archives: March 2015

City People Visiting Country Cats

Cats header

In my previous post I took you on a tour of Meadow K View farm, where we stayed in the guest house for two lovely days last August (Cats and Cows and Cats and Cows). And I think I might have mentioned that I took one, or two, or maybe more like a million photos of the multitudinous felines that roamed the farm.  There were cats and kittens of all colors and sizes.  Though none of them were pudgy, these are working cats.  They were lean, mean, mousing machines.  Emma and Sam and I had a great time naming them all.  The cats were one of our favorite parts of going to the farm.  If you like cats too, you will love this post!

Click on photos to enlarge

Let's start with my favorite color for a cat.  This is Sky.

Let’s start with my favorite color for a cat. This is Sky.

Midnight napping.

Midnight napping.  Look at those adorable big kitten paws!

Soulful Ash.

Soulful Ash.

Momma cat, who I could never get a picture of by herself, as her kittens were always nearby.

Momma cat, who I could never get a picture of by herself, as her kittens were always nearby.

See!

See!

This is Mama's Boy.  He was ALWAYS nursing or trying to nurse.  But what a beauty.  Probably the most photogenic cat on the farm.

This is Mama’s Boy. He was ALWAYS nursing or trying to nurse. But what a beauty. Probably the most photogenic cat on the farm.

Shy Cat.  He was pretty wary, which is a more typical farm cat personality, from what I've seen.  The Meadow K cats were a really friendly bunch in general.

Shy Cat. He was pretty wary, which is a more typical farm cat personality, from what I’ve seen. The Meadow K cats were a really friendly bunch in general.

Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Don't ask me which one is which.

Thing 1 and Thing 2. Don’t ask me which one is which.

Lily had the most amazing markings.  She also had a very strong personality.  As in, "Don't mess with me unless you have some treats to bribe me with."

Lily had the most amazing markings. She also had a very strong personality. As in, “Don’t mess with me unless you have some treats to bribe me with.”

Chicken Stalker.  This kitty like to mess with the chickens.

Chicken Stalker. This kitty liked to mess with the chickens.

Dusty.  Guess how he got his name.

Dusty. Guess how he got his name.

El Mustacio was one cool cat.

El Mustacio was one cool cat.

The Ghost.  This cat was super stealthy, and only came out in the milking barn when it was very quiet.  I got this photo when I went up there by myself after dinner.

The Ghost. This cat was super stealthy, and only came out in the milking barn when it was very quiet. I got this photo when I went up there by myself after dinner.

Twilight.  Look at those green eyes!  This kitty needs a witch to hang out with.

Twilight. Look at those green eyes! This kitty needs a witch to hang out with.

New York Cat.  This guy lived in New York for awhile, and was having a hard time adjusting to being a farm cat again.  He kept trying to get in the house.

New York Cat. This guy lived in New York for awhile, and was having a hard time adjusting to being a farm cat again. He kept trying to get in the house.

Stormy was Emma's favorite.  A super pretty kitty.

Stormy was Emma’s favorite. A super pretty kitty.

Snow Field was Sam's favorite.  He is partial to white cats.

Snow Field was Sam’s favorite. He is partial to white cats.

This cat was Hobbes, because he looks like Hobbes.  But he was much better behaved.

This cat was Hobbes, because he looks like Hobbes. But he was much better behaved.

This is Blaze, for the blaze of white on his forehead.

This is Blaze, for the blaze of white on his forehead.

Cats washing and playing.

Cats washing and playing.

Cats racing!

Cats racing!

Big cats, little cows.

Big cats, little cows.

Table and chairs = cat beds

Table + chairs = cat beds.

Cat relaxing.

Cat relaxing.

I could put even more cute cat photos on this post, but if I did I think the internet might explode.  Hope you enjoyed seeing all this feline goodness.  Now go pet a cat!

4 Comments

Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography, Travel

Cats and Cows and Cats and Cows

Header.farmWe go to the East Coast a couple of times of year to visit my husband’s family, who live near Philadelphia.  We haven’t been in the summer before, and we thought we would take advantage of the warm weather to visit south-central Pennsylvania for a few days.  Andrew worked his usual magic, and found us accommodations in the guest house of a working dairy farm.  I am from Wisconsin, so it wasn’t hard to sell me on the concept.  I remember visiting the dairy farms of my relatives when I was a kid.  Emma and Sam were very excited about the idea of a farm; not just milking cows but collecting the eggs from the chickens also.  What we didn’t realize it that the farm would be chock full of cute cats and kittens.  There are some cat pictures in this post, but I am saving the majority for the following post, which will be all cats, and nothing but cats.  Cats, cats, and more cats.  Yeah!

But back to the farm.  Sharon and Barry are farmers who rent out their guest house on Meadow K View farm.  We spent lots of time on their front porch petting cats, which also gave us a chance to chat with them.  They were lovely hosts, taking us on a tour around the farm, and allowing the kids to “help” with the milking.  Check out the photos below to get a virtual tour of their farm, complete with big animals, small animals, new barns, old barns, solar panels, and corn.  A heady mixture indeed!

Click on photos to enlarge

This is Sharon and Barry, the owners of Meadow K View farm.  Both cats and people love to hang out on their front porch.

This is Sharon and Barry, the owners of Meadow K View farm. Both cats and people love to hang out on their front porch.

When we arrived there were cat greeters.  After we settled in, Sharon took us on a tour of the farm.

When we arrived there was a greeter cat. After we settled in, Sharon took us on a tour of the farm.

This is the new barn.  I would like to point out to my sister Melissa the cow in the upper right corner.

This is the new barn, all nice and shiny. I would like to point out to my sister Melissa the cow in the upper right corner.

The farm has a large solar array, which reflected the cloudy afternoon sky.  It made for nice photos.

The farm has a large solar array, which reflected the cloudy afternoon sky. It made for nice photos.

Our next stop was the milking barn, where we all got to try milking the cows by hand.  The kids helped to hook up the milking machines also.

Our next stop was the milking barn, where we all got to try milking the cows by hand. The kids also took a stab at hooking up the milking machines.

Milk maid Emma.

Milk maid Emma.

Milk master Sam.

Milk master Sam.

The cows were cool, but I kept getting distracted by all the cats!

The cows were cool, but I kept getting distracted by all the cats!

More cats!  This was the gang that hung out at the milking barn.

More cats!  This is the gang that hung out at the milking barn.

One of my favorite photos from our stay.  Cats drinking milk from a giant bucket.  This is what cat heaven must be like.

One of my favorite photos from our stay. Cats drinking milk from a giant bucket. This is what cat heaven must be like.

We headed out to the chicken coop, to gather up some eggs.  Several of the barn cats headed over with us, checking out the cows and chickens on the way.

Next we headed out to the chicken coop, to gather up some eggs. Several of the barn cats headed over with us, checking out the cows and chickens on the way.

Gathering eggs, which we then cooked up in the kitchen.

Gathering eggs, which we then cooked up in the kitchen.

The kids also got to bottle feed baby cows, and visit the older babies outside in their pens.

The kids also got to bottle feed baby cows, and visit the older babies outside in their pens.

There were many barns and outbuildings on the farm, each with their own personality.

There were many barns and outbuildings on the farm, each with their own personality.

Now we now the answer to "Where does all the poo go?"

Now we know the answer to “Where does all the poo go?”

All around the house colorful flowers were blooming.

All around the house colorful flowers were blooming.

The kids kept creeping away to find cats to pet.

The kids kept creeping away to find cats to pet.

At twilight we went out to hunt fireflies.  We never get to see them in San Diego, so that was a real treat.

At twilight we went out to hunt fireflies. We never get to see them in San Diego, so that was a real treat.

Relaxing.  Finding fun things to do.  Admiring the twilight.

Relaxing. Finding fun things to do. Enjoying twilight.

This is the house cat gang.  They hung out on the porch, in the yard, and around the big tree.

This is the house cat gang. They hung out on the porch, in the yard, and around the big tree.

More house cats.

More house cats.

I hope I gave you a good sense of how enjoyable our time on the farm was.  We are headed out there again this summer for a few days of down time.  It will be fun to see how the cats have grown and changed.  I have A LOT more cat pictures (which won’t surprise anyone who knows me), so my next post will be devoted to the cats of Meadow K Farm, in all their adorable glory!

1 Comment

Filed under Travel

Wind, wind, wind, wind, some pictographs, wind, wind, and wind

Wind.header

Apparently I have been living under the mistaken impression that when camping in the Anza Borrego Desert in the fall and winter, the weather is pretty cooperative.  We have had a few showers here and there, but in general, we have not been assaulted by the forces of nature on trips with Sam’s Boy Scout troop.  This era has now come to an end for me.  A few weeks ago we headed out on our annual troop trip to Dos Cabezas, a primitive camping site near the town of Ocotillo.  The lack of facilities doesn’t bother me.  I can always find a bush or friendly rock to hide behind.  What does bother me, it turns out, is hours and hours of gusting winds.

Not that the trip was no fun.  The kids had a tremendous time clambering over the boulder strewn hills surrounding our campsite.  We had a great hike to the Mortero palm tree grove, we explored the ruins of the old San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railroad Company train station, and we saw the “Horse and Rider” pictograph in Piedras Grandes (believed to be one of the first of early Spanish Explorers in the area) and another set of really striking pictographs at Indian Hills.  There were flowers in bloom in the desert (see my previous post Desert Flowers in Anza Borrego), and the clouds cleared up at night in time to enjoy a beautiful sky full of stars.

That being said…the wind really was blowing hard.  One tent came loose and was blown 30 feet in the air, and a few others lost poles and suffered tears.  Many people slept in cars.  I slept in a car with 3 children.  We had trouble keeping the stoves lit, and while we were cooking dinner someone had to stand by holding various things down, since anything left unattended became airborne.  And just the feeling of having strong winds knocking you around for 24 hours is kind of exhausting.

But we are a resilient group, and despite the challenging conditions we spent lots of time chatting and laughing, and then cleaning the grit out of our teeth.  We had four boys complete their First Class cooking requirements, and the scouts did a great job of cooking and cleaning together as a team.  And we were graced with the presence of not just one, but two Scoutmasters Emeriti.  I am glad we went, but I am hoping for balmier conditions next time we venture east!

Click on photos to enlarge

When we arrived at the site around 9:30, there was enough wind that we decided not to set up tents yet.  The boys clambered on the boulder strew hillsides and explored for a few hours.

When we arrived at the site around 9:30, there was enough wind that we decided not to set up tents yet. The boys clambered on the boulder strew hillsides and explored for a few hours.

JD and I had fun with the panorama setting on my camera.  He ran behind me while I panned so he could be in the picture twice.

JD and I had fun with the panorama setting on my camera. He ran behind me while I panned so he could be in the picture twice.

After lunch we set off of the Motero Palm oasis.  The hike up the palms is  very pretty, though I forget how steep some parts are.

After lunch we set off to the Motero palm oasis. The hike up to the palms is very pretty, though I forget how steep some parts are.

The palms are a great place to hang out.  The trees all have skirts of dried fronds, and a large fallen palm makes a terrific bridge.  Amy found a nice comfy rock chair to while away a few hours in.

The palms are a great place to hang out. The trees all have skirts of dried fronds, and a large fallen palm makes a terrific bridge. Amy found a nice comfy rock chair to while away a few hours in.

More palm oasis fun.

More palm oasis fun.

The canyon continues to rise up at the back of the palm oasis.  There is a beautiful view down to the desert floor.

The canyon continues to rise up at the back of the palm oasis. There is a beautiful view down to the desert floor.

The desert was pretty green (for a desert), and I loved the way the plants dotted the walls.  It reminded me a hanging gardens.

The desert was pretty green (for a desert), and I loved the way the plants dotted the walls. It reminded me hanging gardens.

On the hike down Emma found some moteros (grinding holes created by Native Americans), and an old cattle watering trough.  She is pretending to wash up with some rock soap.

On the hike down Emma found some morteros (grinding holes created by Native Americans), and an old cattle watering trough. She is pretending to wash up with some rock soap.

Two of our recent Eagle scouts.  We will miss them when they head off to college next year!

Two of our recent Eagle scouts. We will miss them when they head off to college next year!

Some desert plants.  The bushes on the top were like a fairy tale spooky forest, though on a much smaller scale.

Desert plants. The bushes on the top were like a fairy tale spooky forest, though on a much smaller scale.  Bonsai shrub and wildflowers.

From the palms we headed to the abandoned railroad station.  This water tower is always a great sight, though I was sad that the sky was not blue this year.  The rusty brown against a sunny sky is very striking.

We left the palms and headed to the abandoned railroad station. This water tower is always a great sight, though I was sad that the sky was not blue this year. The rusty brown against a sunny sky is very striking.

Mikey either rescuing Irvan or attempting to tie him to the railroad tracks.  Andrew is neutral, like Switzerland.

Mikey is either rescuing Irvan or attempting to tie him to the railroad tracks. Andrew is neutral, like Switzerland.

Sam and JD having a race along the tracks.  I was tempted to push them over, but opted for taking their picture.

Sam and JD having a race along the tracks. I was tempted to push them over, but opted for taking their picture instead.

Mr. S. in the "Instant Scoutmaster Machine."  Unfortunately, no one had a quarter to activate him.

Mr. S. in the “Instant Scoutmaster Machine.” Unfortunately, no one had a quarter to activate him.

Sam, Matthew, and desert graffiti.

Sam, Matthew, and desert graffiti.

Next up, a walk to see a set of petroglyphs believed to be the first depiction by native people of a man on horse back.  Here we are heading out.  Though it looks pretty level, it is actually a pretty consistent uphill slog.  In deep soft sand.  With a brisk headwind.  Did I mention the wind?

Next up, a hike to see a set of petroglyphs believed to be the first depiction by native people of a man on horseback. Though it looks pretty level, it is actually a pretty consistent uphill slog. In deep soft sand. With a brisk headwind. Did I mention there was wind?

The petroglyphs are pretty faded, though there is a sign showing what you are supposed to be seeing.  Stevie is complaining that I keep taking his picture.  Don't sit on a rock like the cutest little Buddha in the world, and then I won't Stevie!  It's as simple as that.

The petroglyphs are pretty faded, though there is a sign showing what you are supposed to be seeing. Stevie is complaining that I keep taking his picture. Don’t sit on a rock like the cutest little Buddha in the world, and then I won’t Stevie! It’s as simple as that.

The conditions were challenging, but the scenery was lovely.

The conditions were challenging, but the scenery was easy on the eyes.

At the trail head, waiting to head back to camp.  The boys are playing a game to see how long they could balance on the poles before wind gusts knocked them off.

At the trail head, waiting to head back to camp. The boys are playing a game to see how long they can balance on the poles before a wind gust knocks them off.

Morning at camp.  After I crawled out of the car, I saw lots of dark clouds.  We busted our butts to get the tents down and get breakfast started.  It never rained, but the clouds did liven up the sky!

Morning at camp. After I crawled out of the car, I saw lots of dark clouds. We busted our butts to get the tents down and get breakfast started. It never rained, but the clouds did liven up the sky!

The "Old Guard" of our troop.  These guys have been mainstays for years, and we hope they continue to come out with us.  We need Mr. H. to tell us where to turn!

The “Old Guard” of our troop. These guys have been mainstays for years, and we hope they continue to come out with us. We need Mr. H. to tell us where to turn!

The last stop on our desert trip was to see another set of petroglyphs.  These were spectacular.  They were painted on a cave in a large grouping of boulders that rose up from the desert floor.  Native tribes obviously spent a lot of time in the area, it must have been a comfy winter home.

The last stop on our desert trip was to see another set of petroglyphs. These were spectacular. They were painted on a cave in a large grouping of rocks and boulders that rose up from the desert floor. Native tribes obviously spent a lot of time in the area, it must have been a comfy winter home.

A long view out from the rock pile.  A short view of multicolored boulders.

A long view out from the rock pile. A short view of multicolored boulders.

On our way in and out we crossed the rail road tracks again.

On our way in and out we crossed the rail road tracks again.

Our scouts at the end of another great trip.

Our scouts at the end of another great trip.

Me and my Sam.

Mother, daughter (if you squint you can see her behind me in the pink), and son.

3 Comments

Filed under Boy Scout Troop 985 Adventures, Family