Today we got 20 eggs. Twenty! I thought perhaps it was some April Fools prank but birds couldn't possibly coordinate that. Turns out the kids didn't gather all the eggs yesterday, but still, 19 chicken eggs and one duck egg today. I think that still figures out to be about a dozen a day since they only brought a few in yesterday.
I walked the west field today, picked up some trash that had blown out there, and tried to visualize garden space. It's going to be a lot of work to reclaim the field as a garden area after so many years left fallow, but I'm going to give it a try.
No new babies from the colony rabbits, but the cats seemed to be unable to get in. I see a few gaps that I will have to patch up when I have more time, but the cats haven't found them yet. The plus side is that they are now protected from aerial predators.
Today the second package from Baker Creek arrived with more seeds. I already updated the seed stash page. Now I have:
Job's Tears - an interesting plant that produces smooth hard beads
Kogigu Squash - a 1-2# Japanese variety that's been on my wish list for a while
Palav Kadu Giant Butternut Squash - a 3-4# Asian heirloom squash
Shishigatani Squash - an hourglass shaped squash from Japan
Yokohama Squash - a sweet swuash variety from Japan
Get Stuffed Tomato - a red and gold stuffing variety
Mushroom Basket Tomato - a Russian variety I've been wanting for a while
Chinese Shawo Fruit Radish - a Chinese variety so sweet it's eaten as a fruit
Sichuan Red Beauty Radish - a Chinese pickling radish
Clay County Yellow Meat Watermelon - claims to be the sweetest best tasting yellow watermelon available
Gagon Cucumber - a variety that does well in colder climates like ours
Hmong Red Cucumber - Since Minnesota has one of the largest Hmong populations in the world, I thought maybe this would be a good one to try
Urizun Japanese Winged Bean - a high yield Japanese variety
Murasaki Purple Pepper - a high production Japanese variety that looks hot but is actually mild
Groninger Brussels Sprouts - advertised as good for first time growers, since I have had no luck growing Brussels sprouts before, these are promising
Moldavian Balm Dragonhead - I picked these specifically because they advertised them as being used to make tea to "lighten a discouraged heart"
King Theodore Nasturtium - these ones were picked by #5
Alaska Red Shades Nasturtium - a variety with variegated leaves
Classic Artistic Mix Bachelor's Button - just because it's so pretty
The two freebie packets were Amarillo Carrot and Purple Russian Tomato, both of which I already have in my collection.
The MIGardener seeds arrived on Saturday, but I've already put them in the inventory on the seed stash page and put them in the seed collection.
Today I got another 50% off coupon for Michigan Bulb Company. After discussing finances with Tony, we decided to go ahead and finish up buying my wish list. I ordered two bush apricots, one patio blueberry, one tundra honeyberry, one aurora honeyberry, and one filigree hosta (because they're free today, just pay shipping). It hadn't occurred to me that an apricot could grow here. I figured they were like oranges and they wouldn't tolerate the cold. It's worth a shot, especially at half price.
I'm still on the lookout for pear trees. It seems the only fruit tree I can't track down. I know they grow in our climate, so I don't know why they aren't as common as apple trees up here.
At the end of the day I'm breathing a sigh of relief at having survived yet another April Fools day. It is by far and away one of my least favorite "holidays" because I tend to be gullible.
Now a more somber note. Trigger warning - we have a sick cat and we are considering euthanasia. If this makes you uncomfortable, please do not read any further. I realize it can be a touchy topic, and it's never an easy choice. Everything below this point has to do with the sick cat, symptoms, treatments, and options. You won't miss anything important regarding the rest of the blog if you stop here.
Henry's health has been declining more drastically lately. He started having bloody diarrhea back in October, and we brought him to the vet on Halloween. He was given antibiotics for ten days. It didn't really help, so a couple weeks later I gave him another ten day dose. This seemed to help a bit. He was down to blood in his stool only once or twice a week and he was looking alright. In December we got dewormer for all the cats from the vet and we gave some to Henry. It was awful. A full month of poor Henry literally farting and leaking bloody diarrhea everywhere he went. He started heavily using the bath tub as a secondary litter box, and I was sanitizing daily. He went back to the vet in March to get his annual vaccinations, and he was under five pounds. The vet suggested it was likely a tummy issue caused by stress, since we'd seen Netherquartz posture and be a bit of a bully a few times. Never physical - no scratching or hissing, just posturing, glaring, ears back, tail flicking, standing menacingly in front of the litter box or coming beside the food dish and leaning over to block Henry from accessing the food. We tried separating Netherquartz from the group but he would literally knock you over to get back to the rest of the cats. So we started letting them all have more space, added another food dish, another water container, and another litter box. I've actually seen Henry and Netherquartz curled up napping together. We had Henry tested for intestinal parasites, but he came back clean. He has continued to lose weight despite eating, he continues to have major diarrhea problems with blood. Though he's stopped using the bath tub and gone back to using the litter boxes, his health is fading fast. He looks like a walking skeleton at this point. I don't know what else I can do for him. He acts like he's starving, but he can't keep any weight due to his potty problem. He has an appointment for Thursday, but I am preparing myself for the very likely outcome that the vet will not have answers and I will be forced to put him to sleep. I can see that he's not feeling well. I can tell he's in pain. I don't know what else I can do to help him, and it's not fair to make him suffer if I have no reasonable expectation of a cure or even a treatment for an unknown illness. I'm still crossing my fingers that there will be some blood test or scan or x-ray or something we've not thought of yet to try to get a diagnosis. But without a diagnosis, there is no treatment.
My sweet Henry. I wanted a hairless cat since the first time I ever saw one, in an issue of Cat Fancy magazine in my middle school library. It took me decades to be able to afford to buy one, and Henry is everything I had hoped for. A sleek, muscular cat, handsome, and smart. In all my years doing rescue, working in a pet store, and handling animals, Henry is the only cat I've ever met who shifts his eyes back and forth as if searching my face, looking deep into my eyes, as if reading my soul. He has a wiseness about him that I cannot explain. He is not old. Henry is only six now, he should be in his prime. He loves absolutely nothing above being near me and having his ears rubbed. If he could sit in my lap and I could rub his ears all day, he would be content. Now he cannot sit with me without shifting constantly. I know he hurts. I want to be able to make him better. I want him to not hurt anymore. I don't want to even consider putting him to sleep, but it seems at this point, if I can't get answers this week, it will be the only option left.
Below is a photo I took today of Floki, Sage, and Henry, all lined up in the cat tree. Henry has given me so much love and joy. He is the grandfather of little Yuri, who will be staying here as a replacement breeder. I had intended to get Henry neutered and keep him as a pet for the rest of his life. I don't know what I will do without him. He was my first naked kitty, he's been a part of our family for six years, and he has been through so much with us. My heart is breaking thinking about it all. I'm going to stop here and head off to bed. I went to the auction last weekend to try to block it out of my head for a while. The reality is too much to bear. Hope. Hope is all I have left... That the vet will have answers, run tests we haven't already tried, that there's some kind of anti-diarrhea medication for cats, that he's not too far gone to save. Please keep your fingers crossed or send a prayer or positive vibe our way for Henry. His appointment is Thursday.
Sage will be coming along as well because her sinus infection is back and I think she needs another round of antibiotics. Hers is because of a deformed sinus/nasal space - something she is just stuck with according to our vet.