Baby’s 2nd Snow

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This is my Baby Kitty. Actually, she’s one of 10 living here at the farm. Until last week, we only had 9, but we inherited someone’s cast-off kitty. I will feed that one and love it, just the same as all the others. Hopefully that little tan colored youngster will, in time, let us hold it or pet it. Right now, it’s painfully shy.

Baby is just a little over a year old. Last year, she was newborn and really didn’t care about snow, or being outside, or anything much other than her mama’s warm fur and constant flow of milk. She shared her mom with 3 siblings. We also adopted Baby’s sister, Martha.

Baby is unlike any cat we’ve ever had. She has a personality, that I swear, is half human. She is a talker. Some of ours are silent, this one is extremely vocal. She has haunting looks, piercing looks, sweet loveable looks, feed me looks, and one that there is no mistaking for anything other than sheer contempt for whatever it is that’s ailing her at the moment. She has never failed to let us know when she wants attention, or does not want us to even look at her. That’s right. There are times when we can glance in her direction and she will snarl, growl, or wag her tail in a mean manner, promptly get up and leave the room. If we laugh, there are no vocal tones, she will leave our company in a mad hurry. Do not laugh at Baby, do not tell her no she knows what that human word is and does not like it. No one puts Baby in a corner.

We have a nightly ritual. My husband will gather the two housecats, bring them into our room. I think he thinks we have our own private foot warmers on the bed. It’s gotten to be such a routine, that I actually miss them when I’m away. But, bring in Baby, she will growl, grow wide eyed like her eyes are going to pop out of her head, we do all we can not to laugh because it only enrages her more. Let her out of our arms, and she’s off and gone like a wild cat, only to return 5 minutes later, purring, looking at you with half-closed eyes, and has her happy tail wag. (those of you who are cat lovers will know what I mean). Going to bed has to be on her own terms, not ours. It doesn’t take long, it just has to be of her own free will.

Since we had her spayed (we have all our cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible), we have 2 younger cats whom Baby has adopted as her own. When their mother first gave birth to the boys, Baby couldn’t stand the sight of them. Hiss, spit, snarl. It didn’t take long until she decided that since they were going to stay, she might as well use them for play toys. And that, she’s done. She is the one who taught them to bypass the couch in 1 leaping bounce or how to hide behind curtains. She’s taught them to hunt feathers that mysteriously appear from the bottom of the bird’s cages. She taught them to roll with her in a huge fur ball around the front room floor. Now, that she is Aunt Baby, she loves and protects the boys from the other cats. Funny how time changes the most hardened feline into one of a gentle nature.

Don’t get me wrong, Baby isn’t a monster baby, she’s mama’s baby. She wouldn’t mind being an only cat, but that probably won’t happen in her lifetime. We’ve learned to give her special moments and that keeps her satisfied. She loves looking out of the windows. Tonight, she actually saw her first snow (at least one that she recognized as being something different). I caught her behind the aloe plant, couldn’t get a clearer shot of her, but the one above speaks for itself. I almost wish I’d had the camera on video because she was turning her head from side to side, had a soft cooing type of meow, kept looking at us as if to tell us that something different was outside.

I love watching our animals. Every cat, every creature here at Dusty Rose Farms has it’s own special, very unique personality. In time, I hope to introduce them all to you. Tonight is Baby’s night. She’d love it if she only understood.Speed Star 1.0505326  00 This is Martha, Baby’s sister


Parrots in the house…better than TV

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Why couldn’t I have just stopped with one? No, after 4 more, plus 3 (soon going on 4) cockatiels (one of whom has learned to talk…thank you to the 5 big birds), a parakeet and taking on a friend’s lovebird soon, birds are a passion, a pain, peculiar, pious (at times) and pitifully crazy creatures. We started out with one, just one! The lovely Mia (pronounced with a long “I” sound”, is a greenwing macaw. He won my heart about 10 years ago when I visited a pet store and he wolf whistled when I walked past him. Sure, it was enough to grab my attention, because I didn’t think it was the bird, I thought it was some smart alec in the pet store being cute. I turned around, no one else, not even the shop owner was out front, and Mia met me with a sweet “Hi!” and that was all it took. I fell in love with him from day one. I didn’t have $900.00 to pay for him, and went home lamenting about the beautiful birdie in the pet store window. My husband laughed, mom was living with us at the time and she said she’d give me half the money for him, to go get him and bring him home. So, I talked with the pet store owner, gave him half down, and put the bird in “lay-a-way” until the following payday. I went in everyday to visit with him, hold him, and talk with him so the transition would be easy. We brought him home, got a T-stand and set him in the kitchen window on bright sunny days. Living in Salt Lake City, a couple of Mormon missionaries came to the door one day, and Mia started his soon-to-be, crazy bird style. He was out of sight to the missionaries, but soon started screaming in a child-like voice “Ouch! No! Don’t! Stop it! Help me!”. The missionaries, being the concerned young men that they were, asked if someone was in trouble inside. I honestly had to take them, sneak them, to the kitchen window where they could see the bird in action. When Mia saw the missionaries, he started laughing like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Lesson 1. Do not put a mouthy bird in a kitchen window where he can be overheard by missionaries.
Another incident happened on a trip to KFC. Now, mind you, this is a bird who likes to go for car rides. He sits on the back of a towel lined seat, flaps his wings like he’s flying, crows like a rooster, and yells “hey!” to people stopped in their cars at stop lights. It’s OK, I’d learned to deal with pointing fingers, laughing and exclamations of how neat of a bird he was. Sure thing! We decided to drive through KFC on our way home one day. He’d been crowing quite a bit on that trip, and as soon as I pulled into KFC’s parking lot, I told him that he needed to shut up otherwise he’d be the next fried dinner. It was as if he understood because his big beak stopped as soon as the words were out of my mouth. You know the big talk that KFC does before you can give your order, right? We listened to it, and just as the attendant decided to come on the microphone to ask us to place our order, Mia decided to crow like a rooster. Embarrassment #1. The attendant just said…”Excuse me?”, to which Mia replied “What?” in the loudest, roudiest, rauckus voice he could find (and he does have excellent vocal cords…so I quickly apologized and told them that it was the parrot. The kid on the other end of the microphone honestly said, “sure ma’am, no problem”. Embarrassment #2. I quickly placed the order, drove around to pick it up, and thankfully, when we got to the window, Mia, told the young man, “Hi” in the same sweet voice he lured me in with. I am so grateful that the young man recognized the voice and put 2+2 together to understand that I was not the idiot on the other end of the mike. That was the last trip to KFC with the bird.
We’ve had other incidents, going to the vet, he loves to play…complete the crow. This is a game where he does the first part of the crow and the human is supposed to complete it. Either you do, or he will continue until you do. Vet is a wise man, stopped in the middle of his conversation with us to pacify the bird with the last 4 “er-er, er-er” and picked up the human conversation as if nothing had ever happened.
Mia loves to go to Pet’s Mart to ride on the cart, and pick out toys. He is kind enough to tell people “don’t touch this” meaning not to touch him, “Mia goes bye-bye” “Mia good birdie” Mia pretty birdie” to the delight of all those around him. He asks for food when we eat, “mmmm, good?” Yes, Mia, it is. “I want” so we oblige with the veggies and a bite of non-greasy meat. He has a beautiful voice, sings almost operatic in style.
Then, we thought we ought to get him a mate. So, we got a blue and gold macaw. Our first was a young bird who loved to flirt with firemen. Once, when we had to call them to assist mom (who was on hospice at that time) when she fell out of bed and we couldn’t get her up, they so gracefully offered to come help us get her back in bed without calling the ambulance. They were only 2 blocks from our home and were neighbors of sorts. As they filed past the bird cages, the blue and gold wolf whistled at each of the firemen and did her flirty “hi” to each and every one of them. Embarrassment #3. They got a kick out of it, the chief teased his fellas about it as they helped mom back in bed. They all had mom laughing so hard she forgot her embarrassment of the situation. Then embarrassment #4, lovely little blue and gold told each of the firemen as they filed out, “bye, bye honey”. When I took them a big pan of chocolate chip cookies down to the department, the chief offered to adopt that bird as their firehouse mascot. Our sweetie passed away way too early. She didn’t tolerate the move from Salt Lake City to the Midwest and never recovered. A few years later, we bought Murphy, another blue and gold macaw. She is considerably older than him, has no mating interest in Mia, tries to imitate his singing though, and sounds like a dying cow.
Why did we consider an African Gray and 2 Goffin Cockatoos? Only heaven knows. They all speak English, frequently can he heard in conversations such as “Mia, pretty birdie”. Murphy will usually reply “No”, Lennie, the oldest of the Goffins will tell them to shut up or go nitey nite. Tico, the other Goffin will chime in with a “yeah, bad bird”, and Callie, the African Gray will do a dog whistle and tell the rest of them “shhhhh!” which will start a whole new round of conversation. Lennie likes (wants us) to turn off all the lights and the TV around 8 PM so he can go nitey nite. If it doesn’t happen, which we have decided that we pay the bills and will watch TV until we decide it’s time for bed, Lennie will start screeching that “Lennie needs nitey nite”. We’ve made the mistake of telling him repeatedly to shut up and go nitey nite. He has learned to tell us the same thing.
These birds love a movie we have about Macaws. They will converse with those birds on the documentary. They also love another movie we have about the wilds of Alaska. Every time Mia sees the scene of a polar bear sliding down a snow drift, he exclaims “Whew!” and starts laughing. The laughter will range from the Pillsbury Dough Boy, to a girley giggle, to a belly buster laugh, to a psychotic laugh. Most times he wears himself out laughing and follows it with a deep, loud, inhalation and an “Oh boy!”.
Oh boy he is. Best thing since mom’s apple pie when it comes to a good snicker or two. It’s amazing how they know when we’re on the phone, or want to watch TV, or if I embrace my husband in front of them. One cannot show fondness in front of them because inevitably, we will be mocked or scorned or in the background, we’ll hear Lennie with his “my momma”. Yes, I am the momma. I have been blessed with 4 children and 5 feathered children.