Friday, January 14, 2011

3 short stories about critters who came to visit

I've had a few interesting animal encounters here on the farm this week. What makes these encounters interesting is that they were with surprise guests. I like surprises.

Story #1:
Do you see this?:

Yes, that's my stock tank. Yes, there's handsome Mr. Goldy. And, yes, the stock tank is frozen. But the part that fascinates me is the single, perfect, muddy, cat paw print preserved on top of the ice:

We don't have a cat. I *love* them, but my allergies insist otherwise. So aside from not knowing who this cat is, whatever was he doing?
Chasing after Mr. Goldy, the stock tank fishy?
Leaning in for a drink, only to lose balance, start to fall in, but then catch himself on the (surprise!) frozen surface?:

I don't think I'll ever know, but I did think it was cool that when I broke the ice that morning, it broke around the print, and it was still visible as I netted it out:

Oh, and guess what/who I saw leaving the barn driveway later that morning:

I've seen this guy around - he's very big, very wild, and roams our property like he thinks it belongs to him.

This might explain why the Critter Farm barn mouse population hasn't been so big lately. Funny, but I'm kind of excited about the prospect of a cat adopting us and hanging out by our barn. Should I name him? I think I'll call him something clever, like.... Barn Cat.

Story #2:
So then, there we were, Chester and Beau, the donkeys, Kai llama and I, hanging out in the pasture when I saw something hopping up the hill. "Is that a frog," I said to Kai:

Kai ran after it, trying to get a closer look for me:

And then she kept following it as it continually hopped just out of her sniffing reach:

Finally, I was able to get close enough to identify it myself:

I think it might be a baby pine siskin, though why there would be babies this time of year baffles me, as well as the fact that it has a greenish coloring that isn't quite right for the pine siskin. The orange splotch on its head isn't consistent with the siskin either. At first I thought it was blood on his head, but the little guy didn't act wounded (aside from hopping, instead of flying, through the pasture) and the color just didn't look like blood to me:

He just kept a'hopping up the pasture until he scooted underneath the electric fence and into the brush:

Story #3:
This little guy has been here every day this week:

He may be the one who keeps knocking my garden netting down. That's going to have to stop come spring, deer, you:

He was very surprised when I walked out on my porch to take pictures of him. Probably as surprised as Pete and Reggie were to see an unknown hoofed animal running straight for their house:

The End.


  1. Maybe they want to join the Critter Farm team? Water in Winter - check, steady supply of food - check, lots of love - check, who wouldn't want to join!

  2. Hi Danni.
    Your bird friend is a Ruby Crowned Kinglet.

  3. Visitor #2 is, I believe, a male Ruby-crowned Kinglet. They most often flit around in the treetops, but a day or two ago I had one on my lawn, quite close to a window, eating moss or something. So I got a very good look at him. They look like babies, but are only 3-4 inches long full grown. And the red crown is hidden, unless the feathers stand up like that. (I know all this because I consulted one of my bird books LOL) Adorable little birds.

  4. Very interesting visitors! Your photos of them are magnificent. They're all so good, it's hard to have a favorite ... but I really like that last photo of the little bird.

  5. Your little birdie friend is a ruby-crowned Kinglet. Be careful that the deer isn't a zombie.

  6. That little green bird is so pretty! I've never seen one like it. Nice pictures of the deer! You must have a great zoom on your camera.

  7. Your little bird visitor was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.


  8. It's always so surprising when you realize that other critters live on your property.
    I love sharing my life with wild or feral animals. We frequently see cats. We try to catch them and have them fixed but most are very elusive. It always surprises me when I see one, accidentally, right in our yard... usually at night. It makes you wonder about the ones you don't see and how many are living near by.
    Cute little bird. Wonder what was wrong with him.
    Great photos of the deer.

  9. Great stories, but I was especially intrigued with the bird, so I went looking in my Stokes- it appears that you have a male Ruby Crowned Kinglet. I did a Google image search, and I'm pretty sure that's what that was.

    I think Barn Cat is a perfectly good name for the New Guy.

  10. By the way, that picture is better than any other I saw, including the one in my Stokes. Nice job.

  11. wow...all sorts of mystery critters running around. teddy loves to find roaming cats on our property! great shot of the deer!

  12. Love the three visitors you have had to the farm. Maybe you could call your cat visitor the Midnight Marauder. I hope he leaves Mr Goldy alone, but continues to keep your barn mice population under control.

    The little bird is so cute, the red dot of feather's on top of his head... adorable. Is he a finch? If he was here in Oz, I think that is the category of bird he would fall into.

    Deer are so inquisitive, I sure he was very surprised to see those 'miniature deer' holed up in a house of their owned. Probably thought they were very spoiled, and it wouldn't be a bad way to spend the winter.

    Now Danni I am yet to see any of the contents of that box from the top of the closet! Coming soon?

    LiBBiE in Oz

  13. I bet Reggie and Pete thought you had planned a play date for them..haha..that look on their faces is unbeatable!! This is probably just a minuscule of mischievousness going on, on your property when your not looking..
    I'm still laughing about the pumpkins!! hahaha...very funny!

  14. I recommend naming the barn cat Jerry. I don't know why. That's what we named our wild cat. He used to live in our barn, but not anymore. Now he just wanders about the property. My wild Jerry.

    The bird is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I love identifying birds. I love birds, and have lots of feeders.

    And the deer, oh the deer. I have a soft spot in my heart for deer, I don't know why. In a previous house I tamed a mama deer and subsequently, all her babies were tame and would walk right up to me. Of course I had to have corn in my hands for them. At my current home the deer scream at me when they see me and run away. They are too wild, not used to humans at all. So I watch them from afar.


  15. Such delightful encounters!

    If you're worried about Barn Cat falling into your stock tank, you could put a heavy, long wooden pole upright in the tank. This gives critters who fall in a way to climb out, and one hefty yank of the pole will break up the ice.

  16. It looks like everyday is an adventure at your place. Love your blog. Have a great weekend!

  17. should write a children's book!

    And I'd like to compliment you on your creativity....especially with the whole "Barn Cat" name. How in the world did you come up with that?? :)
    nothing like a good barn cat to help with the rodents....

  18. Ah, a barn cat. Lucky you. No more mousies in the barn. :)

    Do you know what breed of deer your guy in story number 3 is? Love his ears.

  19. Yup, name the kitty! He/she has found you. Looks like you have yourself a nice barn cat.
    Hmmm, interesting about the little bird.
    I love deer! Still get excited when I see one.

  20. Nice visitors you have had this day. No wonder the cat wants to adopt you:)

  21. I enjoyed reading about your visitors and the bird photos were excellent. CritterCat would be a good name for your stealthy feline forager.

  22. Barn Cat wouldn't work, because short it would be B.C., and you had already named someone that in the past, remember? I vote for Critter Cat as well. Very imaginative.

  23. Yeah, Critter Cat or Kritter Kitty would be good names..or Barney if you still want to go with the barn cat thing!
    Could be a Mule Deer, or a Black Tailed Deer or a...oh deer me, could be any number of deer species, although probably not a white tail???
    Fun post!!

  24. fun times! I too think cats are neat. My only deterents are 1) M and are I both allergic, 2) I had an inside cat once that broke a very dear heirloom from my Granny, and 3) outside cats eat my songbirds that I work so hard to draw to my house, and its kind of like baiting them for the cat...sad! However a barn cat that stayed at the barn and restricted his diet to mice and left songbirds (and stock tank goldfish) alone would be AWESOME!
    LOVE the little bird and I so enjoy the deer, even though they are terribly destructive! Sorry my comment is so long...just so many neat things to comment on!!!

  25. I love that within the first two comments, you had an answer to the bird question.

    I love the blogging world. *happy sigh*

  26. What beautiful visitors. I enjoyed the fun of discovery from your pictures. Love all of them.

  27. A barn cat sounds great -- it will really help with the mice. And how nice that there are people who can help identify the critters we find.It has been so great to have you visit my blog again. Take care.--Inger

  28. The net is a fabulous idea!!! I'm gonna get us one or two of those tomorrow for sure.

    Seriously loving your posts Danni!!!

  29. How exciting! Poor little bird though. I wonder what it's doing hoping around on the ground at this time of year.

    Beautiful deer!

    I hope Mr. Fishy warms up soon!! Brrrr.

    I think a Barn Cat will make an excellent addition to the menagerie. The wild critters seems to like it at your place, which is a glowing endorsement, I think.

  30. Well Danni you got your bird ID long before I got here. My favorite bird books are National Geographic Birds of North America and The Sibley Guide to Birds. You would love either of these books to get to know more about the birds around you. AND a really great butterfly book is the Kaufman Butterflies of North America. I spend a great deal of time with all these great books! Glad to see mr goldy there under the ice...just tell that cat...mice and rats ONLY!! hahaha!


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