Monday, March 16, 2009

Soap making, barn cleaning, and kittens coming!

What a day! We were only able to make three batches of soap, because I didn't have enough goat milk frozen. So, we must freeze more milk, so we can make more soap. I haven't made soap without goat milk in six years. Once you put milk in your soap, you just can't make soap without milk. Since using my own goat milk soap, I haven't needed lotion except in the dead of winter, because my skin is not all dried out like it was when I was using commercial soap.

I spent much of today in the kitchen. We had pasta for lunch along with homemade crackers and soft garlic pretzels. For dinner, I made a couple loaves of honey-wheat bread, and Katherine made two quiches. It's egg season again! Jonathan found two dozen eggs today, so it's time to pull out the recipes that use lots of egg. Katherine made pound cake yesterday, which actually uses more eggs than a quiche.

Mike and Jonathan worked on cleaning out more barn stalls today. I need to get a picture of the compost pile. It's huge! Hope this hot composting works! We'll have tons (literally) of black gold.

And finally, yesterday Margaret said to me that she thought Sam the barn cat was pregnant. Yes, I agree. Having never intended to breed cats, I obviously did not educate myself enough on the reproductive system of felines. On Feb. 4, I blogged about how I thought Bogie was reaching sexual maturity because he was trying to mate Sam. Well, in retrospect, I realize that Sam was in heat! I thought that when cats were in heat, they made a lot of noise. I never heard Sam make a single meow. She was (and still is) so tiny, I didn't think she was old enough to be a mama. Being a stray, I didn't know how old she was. So, today I did a lot of web research on cat pregnancy and birth.

Sam and Bogie still live in the small barn office, and today I gave her a box with a towel in it for her nest. The web articles all agreed on the importance of a nest for a mama cat. And we're providing her with unlimited high-quality food so she can feed herself and her babies. Supposedly they need twice as much food at the end of pregnancy. From what I read, I shouldn't worry too much about her being young. One article even said that problems are more likely to occur in a cat closer to two that's never been bred before. So, if indeed she was in heat on Feb. 4, she should have her babies somewhere between April 5 and 10. I guess all we can do now is wait . . . and plan to get her spayed when her babies are a couple months old.

Patches arrived on our farm five years ago, small and pregnant, and she was a perfectly wonderful mama. We had no idea when her babies were due. One day she came to the barn to eat and was quite thin, so the girls followed her to a hollow tree where she'd had her babies. They tried to move the babies to the barn, but Patches thought the tree was a much better home. One by one, she carried them all back to the hollow tree. When they were a couple weeks old, she then decided they should live in the barn, and one by one, she brought them to the barn.

At least we have some idea when Sam is due, and she will give birth in the barn office, which is much safer than a hollow tree where they could get eaten by raccoons or a coyote.


Mom L said...

Good luck with Sam! And yes, Mama cats are very particular about where they want to keep their babies. When I was a kid, though, our German Shepherd "herded" some new kittens by carrying them (gently) outside, where he guarded them between his stretched out paws. Mama cat was very distressed, but didn't dare argue with the big dog so she sat a couple feet away and watched him, and her babies, until human help arrived.

Nancy in Atlanta

Carolina Trekker said...

Feed Sam Kitten Food. It is higher in Protein & will be good for her before she has the kittens & when she is nursing them.

melanie said...

Wow -what a good cat owner! Careful - the word will get out, and all the strays will be coming down for the maternity special...


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