Archive for the ‘Loss’ Category

And Then There Were Three

Friday, January 15th, 2016

For a podcast that’s about chickens, I sure have been talking about cats a lot lately. I should probably warn you that I’m about to do it again, because we lost our big tomcat, The Bone, the other night.

The Bone, watching the chickens in the yard.

The Bone, watching the chickens in the yard.

I’m sure your first question is “why the heck is his name ‘The Bone?’.” That’s perfectly fair. His real name was Hamish, however, my feeling is that you often give people and things names because you have to, and then when you get to know them, you find their real name. He went from “Hamish” to “Hambone,” and then from there you may be able to see that “The Bone” is a logical next step. It stuck. I did try to take it one step further and make up a story that he was named after Leon Redbone and that we should refer to him as “Leon,” but that was a harder sell. So The Bone it remained. And if you met him, it would make sense. He was like The Fonz, in cat form. Ayyyy.

He was also helpful around the house.

He was also helpful around the house.

When we got him, they thought he was about 6, but he had been living under someone’s porch, so they had no idea of his real age. We had gone to the shelter to look at this beautiful Maine Coon, but when we got there, he took one look at us and went into hiding. We then tested out every cat in the place. We needed one that was kid-friendly, and at one point my son, then about 2ish, just laid down on the floor and let cats crawl all over him. He was in cat heaven. There were some nice ones, but none of them really seemed like a good fit, or they had big chronic health issues that we didn’t think we’d be able to handle. Then we noticed this big gray fellow in a corner who had just been sitting there watching us. My son went over to say hello, and the cat stood up and immediately rubbed his face against my son’s, and that was all it took. We knew we had the one.

Perfect for hugging.

Perfect for hugging.

A few years ago, The Bone started to lose weight (he had become a fairly ample gentleman in his time with us) so we took him to the vet. They did a million tests, and found he had thyroid issues. This made his estimated age quite suspect, as cats don’t generally have thyroid troubles until their teens. So we figured he was maybe a few years older than we originally thought. With the thyroid issue treated, he put weight back on, but never got as big as he had been. Then in the past month he started to lose weight again. We brought him in, and all his bloodwork was fine. Then x-rays revealed that he had fluid in his lungs and abdomen, so he would need an ultrasound. The ultrasound doctor was hard to book, so we were waiting to hear, and then right at bedtime a few nights ago something was obviously wrong. The Bone was walking wobbly, and breathing heavily. My wife rushed him to the emergency vet, where it was determined he had congestive heart failure and a blood clot in his legs, that even if they could fix, would leave his back legs paralyzed, and they didn’t think they could actually fix it. And so we said goodbye.

Such a handsome boy.

Such a handsome boy.

The Bone had also had a chronic sinus problem that caused him to blow large amounts of snot on you without warning. He was so charming no one ever cared. He was the calmest cat I’d ever met, but once cornered a 150 pound dog just to show who was boss. He loved going to the vet so much they had trouble hearing his heart because he was purring so loudly. There has never been a cat like The Bone, and I’m not sure there ever will be. But I’m happy we knew him for the short time we did.


Adios, muchacho.

(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Ruminants (Instrumental) by Lisa Germano)

Music used under Creative Commons license: Ruminants (Instrumental) (Lisa Germano) / CC BY-NC 3.0

All Things Must Pass

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Buddhists teach that everything is impermanent, and so attachment is a source of suffering. It’s difficult to not become attached to things, and even when you think you’re not attached, if a thing is taken away from you, you may suddenly find yourself feeling loss. Then what do you do?


Let’s meditate on this.

Luckily, I’m not talking about losing a chicken, though it was about this time last year that I did lose two of them. What I did lose, and was apparently attached to, is the store where I bought all my chicken supplies for the last few years. It was where I bought my first chicks, all the gear I needed to keep them alive, all the odds and ends you find yourself needing, and all the food and bedding that I’m constantly replacing. It was five minutes from my house, opened early, and stayed open just late enough that if the train got in on time (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) I could swing by and get what I needed right before they closed. They sold more than just chicken stuff, too. We have a peach tree and plum tree from them, a bunch of gardening tools, and I even bought praying mantis egg pods there when aphids were attacking my peach and plum trees. They were local and handy, and now gone. They even rented moving trucks, so maybe they used those to clear out the old stock.

chicken mover

You always have to call in some favors when you move.

I only made this discovery by accident. Luckily, it wasn’t by driving there and trying to open the door to an obviously empty store for five minutes before realizing nothing was inside. I was reading our town’s paper online (they have an article about me in it, not about chickens, but hey, I might as well self-promote while I’m here), and someone had made a comment on the paper’s Facebook page that this place had closed. I figured that couldn’t be right, and as the internet is full of kooks, I double-checked elsewhere. Sure enough, the owner apparently ran two stores and decided to shut them both down. I probably won’t ever figure out why, but it seems odd to me because they were usually very busy. One of the clerks one day was talking about how they sold so much chicken food they needed a separate truck just for that order. That sounds like business was good.

chicken food delivery

Most popular delivery of the week.

I had gone in there about a week ago to get layer food, but they said they were out. I didn’t think anything of it, because given the demand, they did sometimes run out of stuff. I asked when they were getting more, and the clerk only said he wasn’t sure. That should have clued me in that something was up, but I’ve worked in stores, and sometimes you don’t know when shipments are coming. I had enough food for another week, and a few days later, I happened to pass by another store (same company, different owner, I guess) on the way to where my wife rides horses, and got some food there. It’s a good thing I did, because the other one was closed at that point.

closed sign

(Not actual signage.)

Apparently I’m now going to have to work a little harder to get my chicken supplies. The store by my wife’s barn is close, but still about 20 minutes away. That’s not a “zip out and grab some pine shavings while everyone in the house is still in their pajamas” sort of trip. It requires a little more planning and timing. I guess I need to be more on top of my food levels now, and maybe prepare a little better for when I run out. I got spoiled having a store so close. Who knows? Maybe a similar store will open in that spot. Or maybe it will be another bank, since that seems to be what goes into all empty storefronts these days. I guess I just figured they’d always be there. There was probably a lot going on behind the scenes that I wouldn’t have known about leading up to this. I’m glad they were there for a while, since they gave me my start with chickens, which has been great. I’m thankful for that. But now I’ll have to cling to my backup store for dear life.

(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music bed: The Last Rose Of Summer by Moore And Davis)

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