There were no cats in the driveway when I arrived today. Gradually, they appeared, one-by-one. First, Young Blackie, then one of the raccoons, then a few appeared on top of the woodpile. The welcome was sad, I felt it and the cats seemed to feel it. I walked over to the red house to feed them and it felt all wrong, all wrong because there were no little kittens runnning under my feet. I saw the short hair gray kitten, but she was the only kitten left. She ran to a dark spot on the porch and curled up. The dark spot turned into the two black youngsters who were sick yesterday. They were dead today - but at least there were no new sick cats. I think the change in food stopped the killing. I'm going to call the Department of Agriculture tomorrow and tell them about the cat food - maybe I'll tell Krogers, too. I still have two bags of the damn stuff, one opened and one not. There are only twelve or thirteen cats left - less than half.
Gibby has been busy redecorating the inside of the farmhouse. The two electric heaters are keeping the main floor warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, and maybe warm enough to feel good to a hairy dog. He's been throwing everything loose into the dining room, including the almost empty dog food bag. I retrieved it, and filled the big bowl in the kitchen. Gibby seems to be having his meals there instead of in the pen. I guess I'm going to have to get some tools out - make that door into the pen close tight by shaving down the side, and then install a doggy door. When really deep winter hits, I can't have that door wide open or the pipes will freeze in the basement - in fact, the water storage tank is in direct line with the stairs and that door. I moved the tank into the basement some years ago when I got tired of spending all the below zero days with a blowtorch trying to melt the ice in the top of the tank where it was buried out in front of the barn. There's no way I have time for that foolishness now.
Gibby and George are apparently never going to be friends, but George doesn't seem to be as wary of Gibby as he used to be. Tonight, he walked right through the circle Gibby was running so he could ask me to let him into the house. That required some pretty fancy footwork to jump over the cable. I guess George must think the dog food in the house tastes better than his food at Grandma's house. I was pleased to see him feeling well enough to be walking around instead of just laying by the car waiting to get back in.
There was only one egg in the hen house today, but it was a beautiful bright blue - almost a robin's egg blue. Pretty soon I'm going to have to find something to do with those eggs. Even though we had eggs for breakfast, I still have three dozen in the refrigerator. I know it's silly, but I love to take them out and look at them - they're blue and green and pink, and some are gray. The pink ones are from the old hens and only appear once or twice a week, but we've been getting three or four of the others every day, until today. I put that one beautiful blue egg in my jacket pocket and forgot to give it to Mother when I got into the car. We had to go to the feed store and I bought a fifty pound bag of chicken feed - and some thermal underwear for Mother. I struggled to get that bag of feed onto the top of the grocery cart, then had to muscle it from the cart into the back of the car. I already had three big bags of cat food in the back (two good ones and one of the probably poisonous Kroger bags) so I had to shuffle them out of the way and then get the chicken feed in - and with all that and several ins and outs under the steering wheel, I got all the way home before I remembered that egg. I took it out of my pocket and it was still whole, tough little beautiful blue egg.
Well, I didn't tell you much about Gibby today because I really didn't spend much time with him. I don't think I even threw one stick for him. He watched me carry the two dead cats to the corn crib and must have understood I wasn't feeling really cheerful, because he didn't even ask me to throw a stick. Oh, he did tell me he doesn't like well water - something I suspected. I dumped the ice out of the bucket by the back door of the house and filled the bucket with fresh clean well water. He chose to lick the icey chunk of rain water and never put his nose in the bucket at all. There are enough chunks of rain water ice around the farm, maybe I should take some in the house and melt them for him. And then again, maybe he should learn to like well water.