Foust Family Farms

  (Whitsett, North Carolina)
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...and Life goes on.

 Has it been so long, since my last entry? My, how time flies, when you're working on a farm...or not!

Hmm,...life goes on. what can I mean by that.  for all its tranquility, a farm is a site of Life and Death, on a regular basis.  Seed is planted in the ground. Crops sprout and then harvested. Killed - they die. Animals likewise are brought forth into a farmer's life. Raised, fed,...and dispatched. sometimes for food, generally for profit. But sometimes, out of compassion; not all farm animals are here to benefit the farm. Sometimes their presence benefits the farmer and/or his family. These critters are what you'd call "pets". Be they chickens, goats, horses, even snakes - for some.

For me, right now,...it's cats. I was a dog-person for a great many years. but even before then...cats called our farm home. I have fond memories of them critters. But one day whilst I was still a teen at home, [mom called]. Mom was calling from the home of a friend. A friend with a  dog...w/pups. My brother and sis, just had to have one...and so begin a long line [a dynasty. perhaps?] of dogs in my life. 

Sadly though,...dogs and cats, don't always mix. They may get along for a little while. But when dogs far outnumber cats...sometimes,...sometimes not so good. And so it was, just, dogs, for the next 30+ years....till...

It's sad how cancer can touch a dog's life. Or kidney failure. Or pneumonia. Or a car's bumper [at high speed] - sometimes deliberately. I lost a lot of dogs to cars that "accidently" ran over my streetwise dogs.

 But before the last one died, a cat,..a stray, showed up at our farm one day. And as we had always done w/strays that came our way. She was adopted into our family. and she and our little dog got along - well enough.

Then our little dog [Charly] got cancer. she had an operation to remove the tumors [lots]. But one grew back - with a vengeance. She's buried, [in the front yard], in her favorite dog bed. But we were not left alone,..for the stray, now called "mama kitty', was still with us. And a mama she was to be; three times over. Till one day she disappeared,..and they disappeared. But one stayed behind.

I Called her Blu. Because I thought her eyes were blue [green]. She was with us, what? five years? six? till a trip across the road one evening changed things. She left behind three kittens. Kittens we'd heard, but not seen. It took me a week to finally lay eyes on them. (after much crawling around and over all the things a farmer piles up in a shed). With the help of my then 10? yr old niece, we got them in hand. I couldn't believe they'd lasted over a week w/out food.

Rocky was the one that lasted. She had two litters, Was an excellent mouser. Left an occasional mole at my kitchen door. Brightened my days, and...was run over last week. She'd had a third litter. The first two kittens had literally dropped out of her within a few feet of me. I put them into a rabbit hutch my brother had built. Rocky birthed the other two in it. And that is were they were - till, Chick-Chick decided [week 2] to lay her eggs in it. 

  So, Rocky moved them, I knew not where. Days of "stalking" her proved fruitless. Then, she was gone for a whole day. Not typical for a nursing mother. I "sort of" looked out onto the road out front. Didn't want to see what I might see. My brother mowed the front yard and said he hadn't seen anything along road...

but later that night when I went to feed the outdoor water furnace, I found her.  I bundled her up and put her into a box. But when I lifted her - there was a 3" long tear in her backside. I could see into her body. There was little blood. I took her to the vet, in the morning. She seemed able to stand, so I was hopeful. But x-rays showed a broken pelvis. That, and the damage to her lower jaw..they recommended "putting her down." 

Last critter I bottlefed was, Squeaky. A runt of the litter piglet, that his mama had rolled onto. Me, brother, and sister were still in high school. Squeaky wound up as bacon and sausages, eventually. Though we bottlefed him, he was still a farm commodity and not a pet. We'd feed him, but then put him right back in w/his siblings...though he did recognize his name when we called. As is oftentimes said of farm animals you intend to eat or sell - don't name them. Or you may become too attached to let them go. And farmers are in it for the money. Sentiment doesn't pay the bills.

..Sending a hog off to the slaughterhouse, or chopping the head off a nameless chicken [for supper] is one thing, but having to "put down" a friend/companion,...whole nother thing...So, now [week 3.6]  I'm bottle feeding four kittens. I hope they are as good a bunch of mousers as was their mom.She made a difference. She was also good at getting rid of the pesky squirrels that liked getting into the grain wagons.

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