I have retired this blog and will no longer be updating it.
Instead, I’ve redesigned my website, melanieeberhardt.com incorporating all these posts under the heading “Aunt Mel’s Animals”.
Thank you for following and visiting Aunt Mel’s Animals and I hope you will continue to follow my stories via my site! Its way cooler!
Many cats have shown up at Aunt Mel’s farm. If they hang out for a few weeks, Aunt Mel takes them to the vet for vaccinations and to be neutered. Barney showed up one day and immediately took up residence.
Big and fuzzy, he marched into the barn with his tail straight up in the air and took charge. Barney followed Aunt Mel everywhere and when she sat down, he immediately jumped in her lap. He would curl up and purr with his big thick fuzzy tail curled around him like a hug.
Barney was a wonderful cat, very large but he was well behaved. Sadly Aunt Mel learned that he was sick. Being a former wild cat roaming the fields and woods, Barney grew up with no one to care for him and no one to ensure he had the vaccinations that would protect him from infections. Barney had feline leukemia.
The vet asked if Aunt Mel wanted to put Barney to sleep. But she did not. The other cats were all vaccinated and safe from becoming sick and Barney was an otherwise healthy and happy cat. So Barney lived his short life at Aunt Mel’s farm. He visited with the horses, sat in Lyndon’s nest of straw and hunted mice and birds. Barney was a lovely cat who deserved a longer life than he was afforded. RIP sweet Barney.
Lucky is Aunt Mel’s farm dog. He helps with chores, supervising feeding the horses and pig. He barks an alarm when the coyotes are in the pasture or when the morning doves are sitting on the electric lines. He is very helpful except when he is distracted by his one nemesis. The Frisbee.
More than anything in the world, Lucky loves to play with his Frisbee (always hot pink). He runs in front of Aunt Mel and strategically drops it in her pathway. Positioned so she must either step around it or on it. Rather than do either, Aunt Mel obliges Lucky, and picks it up and throws it. Again and again and again.
Lucky loves to chase it. He loves to jump in the air and catch it. Then he drops it to the ground so he can growl at it and push it with his nose. When he reaches the driveway, he places it upright and gives it a good nose push. With a little air underneath, the frizbee floats across the drive making a loud scraping noise. Lucky chases it and puts his front feet on the suspended Frisbee, pushing it further along with his back legs. Not unlike someone riding a skateboard. Somehow around all his frenetic chasing, after a few short minutes, the Frisbee is dropped or pushed back to Aunt Mel’s feet. And once again, she picks it up and gives it a yet another toss.
Early one morning Aunt Mel was feeding the horses. Just as she finished putting grain in the last feed tub, the trees began to shake and there was a loud prehistoric “BRAWK!”
The horses spooked nearly running over Aunt Mel. We spun toward the tree to see if Godzilla was stomping toward us and instead caught a brief glimpse of the big blue heron and his girlfriend flying from the treetops. Phew! Everyone was relieved to see the cranes and not a huge monster!
Annoying, loud and obnoxious. This summer there is an abundance of squirrels causing a raucous at Aunt Mel’s farm. From sun up to sun down, dozens of squirrels chase one another through the treetops, they bark at Aunt Mel and Lucky and raid the bird feeder. They aggravate Lyndon, they run along the pasture fence and frighten the horses. They’re so bold, they even nap on Aunt Mel’s picnic table under the shade tree. Aunt Mel’s farm has been over run by stupid squirrels!
Beatrice, or B-Kitty, was one of Ed’s kittens. B was born in Aunt Mel’s bathroom closet. From birth she was the leader, the boss, the keeper of the peace. Aunt Mel called her Officer B. If someone misbeheaved, B would run over and pop them to get them back in line. She was fearless and didn’t hesitate to reprimand the other cats or dogs. She would run up to anyone misbehaving and stare into their eyes, her tail straight in the air, whipping back and forth angrily until they backed down. Cause she was not going to back down – ever.
B was beautiful. A silver tabby with green eyes. She followed Aunt Mel overseeing any yard work. When Aunt Mel called, she came immediately. B was a great hunter. She seldom caught birds but focused on lizards and frogs. She liked to pull off the lizard tails and eat the frog legs, then leave the bodies for Aunt Mel to clean up.
Sometimes her fearlessness worked against her. Aunt Mel came home from work one day. When she opened the front door, B ran past her and bolted under the bed yowling. Aunt Mel had to pull her from under the bed with both hands. Her tail was broken in two. A quick trip to the emergency clinic and the vet had only one question. Do you want a long tail or a short tail? B’s tail had to be amputated. We opted for as long as possible. So B ended up with a tail about 4 inches long. But she still whipped it around and when she stared at the other cats with her tail whipping back and forth, they backed down immediately. There is no way of knowing how B’s tall was broken, but Aunt Mel suspects that one of the horses stepped on it.
When B got older, she had an eye injury. Overnight her eye turned white and she couldn’t see. It didn’t seem to hurt her, she simply couldn’t see. Aunt Mel’s vet suggested removing the eye but surgery didn’t seem necessary. So Aunt Mel declined. A few months later, the eye began to clear and just before B died, her eye had completely recovered.
It was difficult to watch B grown old. She was still bold and fearless but she also became a little senile. She loved to sit on the roof of the house, but once up there, she couldn’t remember how to climb back down the tree. She meowed a lot, calling out to the other cats if she couldn’t see them.
B was a very special cat. Brave and beautiful like her mother.
Writer Spiders are frightening. They are big, shiny bugs that resemble colorful robots. The first time Aunt Mel saw a Writer Spider, she screamed. But she soon learned they are helpful spiders in the garden. And fear changed to respect.
Big spiders build big webs, sometimes a foot or two across. The webs are strategically placed to catch as many bugs as possible. They are pulled taught by single threads tethered to nearby flowers and grass. In the center of the web, the spider spins a dense, thicker thread. Sometimes it looks like a cloud or cotton ball. Most of the time it is a zigzag that looks like printed letters. Hence the name, Writer Spider.
The spider hangs upside down behind the dense center, hiding, and waiting to pounce on intruders. Every night the spider eats the center of her web and builds a new one. So every morning there are new “letters” to read.
If the Writer Spider writes your name in her web, you’ll have bad luck. Aunt Mel checks the web daily – so far, so good.
This year’s Writer Spider was especially large. She built her nest above the outside water spicket. Aunt Mel had to be careful not to stick her hand in the web. As fall approached, the spider spun a soft web filled with yellow goo. She filled the sack with her eggs. It hangs beneath the windowsill. After she lays her eggs, she stops eating and will die before the first frost. But next spring, on a warm day, the eggs will hatch and hundreds of little spider will throw out lines of webbing in the air. The wind will pick them up and blow them across the yard. Where they land, they will stay and build their own web.