Category Archives: Small Stuff

Travis Saga’s Happy Ending

Travis the rescuedTravis, a Local Farm barn cat and champion swallow catcher, summers with the Moche family in East Cornwall so that our exotic bug zappers have a better chance of reproducing before their long journey south. On Thursday, Aug 13, the Moches were about to go away for the week-end when they heard distressed mewing, and couldn’t find Travis. Enlisting Margaret’s help, they finally discovered him perched in a tall tree. No coaxing would get him to come down, so with Margaret’s promise to return and check on him, they anxiously left for the city.
        Saturday afternoon, Margaret and I borrowed Waite’s truck and took an extension ladder to the Moches’ for Travis. Margaret thought she could reach him from the top of the ladder but he was too high and out of reach. We then drove to Josh Tyson’s but no one was home so we went on next door to his mom, Bobbie Tyson’s house. The fire chief and Bobbie’s friend, Ernie, were there. The general consensus was that Travis would eventually find his way down…  “Do not call the fire department.” 
        On Sunday morning, when the Moche’s returned, Travis was still in the tree. Using a long pole and Travis’s favorite toy streamers they tried to coax him down through the branches… but to no avail. Finally, in desperation, David called another neighbor who does construction and might have a longer ladder… Here’s David’s story:
        Andrew came over several minutes after I called him around 9 pm.  It would have been sooner, I am sure, but he was probably loading his 28 foot extension ladder on the roof of his car.
        It was pitch black, for those who keep track, it is a new moon, a new month.
        Well he directed his powerful flashlight into the trees and we found Travis in the same position on the same branch.
        After assessing his exact location, the exact branch, the exact tree, the footing location for his ladder, Andrew walked back to his car at the top of the driveway and proceeded to untie the ladder from the roof.  Shocked, I asked him if he was planning to go up there tonight!  Surprised at my question, he said he was.
        We went to the base of the tree and Andrew adjusted the ladder and slowly climbed up.  Carefully approaching Travis, he made some soothing sounds and then actually managed to rub him.  Travis was cooperating but Andrew needed to grab him from his belly which was proving difficult.  Andrew sent me to get some food to entice him to move closer but the ladder was not high enough and Travis was still nervous–after all, who is this guy?
        When I came back Andrew had positioned the ladder on the adjacent tree–he was going all the way up this time, I could tell.  However, after some difficult to watch mid-ladder adjustments to extend it, Andrew came back down to get a handsaw to remove some troublesome and inconvenient branches.  Back up he went and to saw a clearer path up (and of course down).
        It took some very patient and gentle coaxing and grabbing but he did it!
        Brought him down step by step (after Travis peeeed on his shoulder).
        Travis then went running into the bushes, Andrew would not leave until he saw Travis safely on the porch.
        I called Ma’yan who was able to get him to come further out and she grabbed him in a hug, like she usually does and into the porch he settled.  Wet food, dry food, water–and an extended rubbing session seemed to calm him down.
        Well, he is locked in, but for the hole in the net.
 Good night everyone and thank you Andrew, who managed to get out of here by 10:02 pm!!

Travis 1Here is an excellent resource if you ever need to rescue a cat in a tree.

Thanks to Elsie Moche for the PRRRfect photos!

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Feeding Cats at Local Farm

At 4 months old, Tiska and Tarrant have joined the “big” cats on the table vying for Margaret’s attention at feeding time.
DSCF2720hats off TerrantHats off to Tarrant! … for entertaining us during morning chores.

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Pick-Up Chicks

In anticipation of hosting Motherhouse’s Old Style Life-Skills workshop, EGGSperience Chickens, we ordered 2 dozen meat birds from Hoovers’ Hatchery in Rudd, IA. An excited call from the Post Office heralded their arrival, today.boxed chick at POInside the box were a straight run each of 12 Cornish Crosses and 12 Red Rangers. A “straight run” means the chicks have not been examined to determine their sex and the parcel includes both male and female chicks.chicks in mailing pkgBack at Local Farm, we opened the box. You can see the lighter colored Cornish Crosses on the left and the reddish Rangers in the compartment on the right.teaching a chick to drinkAfter transferring them into our brooder box under a heat lamp, Francisco dipped each chick’s beak into the waterer. He feels that showing the chicks how to drink will greatly increase their survival rate.showing chicks the foodThen he tapped the feed dish with his fingernail so it sounded like a hen eating and showing her chicks where to find food. It seemed to work and very soon the chicks were all chowing and drinking with abandon. .. growing up quick for the Oct. 12th Chicken EGGSperience!

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Swallow Hard, Cats

swallows in nestEvery Spring around April 17, the swallows arrive back from their South American winter migration with joyous swoops and chattering calls. We’re happy to have the industrious birds at Local Farm and make sure to keep the barn doors wide open for them. Soon they have repaired or rebuilt their mud cup-shaped nests in the upstairs floor joists and are busy feeding youngsters a diet mostly made up of…. FLIES!!!! That’s right! More than 70% of the barn swallow’s diet is flies. That makes them our all-natural bug zappers and we are SO glad to have them grace our barn and pasture. This summer, we were dismayed to discover that two of our new barn cats are avid birders. I once saw Travis can catch one mid-air from the stonewall! Now is the time the fledgeling swallows are getting ready to learn to fly.

chickenwire cathouseTo give them half a chance at surviving, we have rewired a chicken tractor and turned it into a temporary cathouse for Miranda and Travis to stay until the swallows have learned to fly and take off with their folks for the southern hemisphere.

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Meet Vulture

Local Farm hensVulture came to us from our friend, Tal, in Sherman, CT after her free ranging flockmates met with a mysterious end. Vulture is a very friendly Black Australorp hen. Not knowing how well she’d be received by our tiny flock of Silver-Laced Wyandottes and Ameraucanas, we kept her in a separate cage in the barn until night. Then when our hens had gone to roost, we perched her next to the others. We kept everyone cooped up all the next day so she’d get the idea that this was home. The next morning, we let everyone out. That night she came right along… slowly… after the other hens. I scooped her up and carried her back to join the others in the safety of the secured coop for the night. Now she looks and acts as if this has been home all her life! Here are the girls dust bathing in the shade of the silo. Australorps originally came from Australia. Wyandottes were developed in the US. Ameraucanas are also a US breed but have been developed from a strain of chicken from Chili.

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