Catherine Anderson

Hello, Readers!

If you’ve been following the action on Facebook, then you’re aware that after Sid’s death last November, I shifted back and forth between Cinnamon Ridge and my son John’s house for months and then decided to temporarily stay on his mini-ranch in Tumalo. This involved a lot of adjusting for all concerned, not the least for my pets.

My dogs, Buddy and Talili, had spent their lives on Cinnamon Ridge and were used to long runs in 160 acres of forested land every morning and evening. Now they have a big dog run with access to the house, but it isn’t the same. The good part, for them, is that they are getting a lot more attention since they are inside more now. They are getting up in years, and I think they are enjoying that. Fortunately, both dogs get freedom time each day by taking long walks with me on the farm, and they seem content with those exercise periods.

To the left is a picture of Talili

To the right is a picture of Buddy

The cats are ecstatic at the change of locale. For the first time there are lots and lots of people around when they are outside! Someone is almost always handy and good for a petting or an ear rub, or — the ultimate thrill — a good scratching along the backbone. For the first month they were here I was so paranoid that they would either head back to the Ridge or become something’s dinner that I kept them locked in the then-unoccupied chicken coop 24/7. They had sun porches and lots of windows and fresh air, but you can imagine how popular I was NOT by the end of that month. I had gone from being their best buddy to being their jailer and they let me know they didn’t appreciate it.

When I did finally let them out I spent the first several days in a constant state of what I’ll politely call the jitters and which other people have termed being a nervous pain in the, well, ahem. I was constantly stopping whatever I was doing to rush outside and yodel for the cats. Then I would anxiously count noses and go into a tailspin if one of them failed to appear for inspection. I would round up all available help (I suspect my son, grandson and nephew developed instincts about when to hide), and demand that a search be launched.

Have you ever tried to locate one cat on a large piece of property that is surrounded by other large pieces of property? It was gently pointed out to me that this was an exercise in futility. I wasn’t interested. I wanted the missing feline located. Now, if not sooner.

Well, I did get past that stage after the cats had been outside for a couple of months with no disappearances or unexcused overnight absences. It was then that they held a meeting and decided they should display appreciation. Dead critters, and — worse — pieces of dead critters began showing up as offerings for me. By learning to remove them when they weren’t looking, I have avoided censure for my failure to eat their presents.

Earlier this year I came down with a serious disease called Chicken Mania and rashly ordered over thirty baby chicks. It was only after I did so that I reflected that when the day-old chicks arrived from the mail-order hatchery it would still be far too cold for them to be outside, and the chicken coop (built to Alaska standards by John with help occasionally from Josh and Dustin) was presently occupied by a bunch of cats I was still scared to let out. I set up a chicken nursery in the only available spot I could barricade from both cats and dogs — my bedroom. For several weeks I had baby chicks living in a big stock tank, under a heat lamp, on my dresser. When they were little this wasn’t too bad, but then they got bigger.

To the right are three of the thirty chickens. The middle one looks as if it may be my fourth rooster. Hens of this breed and the same age don’t have the combs that this one has.

To the left you can see Barney, named by my readers after Barney in my upcoming release, NEW LEAF. He is a Cuckoo Maran, and he is huge. Beautiful, too, and now that he has learned to crow, he seldom shuts up.

I hired a very handy gentleman to build a huge, tall, and predator-proof run for them, which is attached to the lovely coop that John built, shown below to the right.

Coop, while under construction. It turned into a mini-house.

Bigger meant two things. They began peeping more loudly, and their poops got bigger and began to smell. My assumption that baby chicks all slept at night and stopped peeping, and that their poops would continue odor-free, were both wrong. I fell asleep to peeps and awoke to peeps and believed what I’d read about chicks each pooping on an average of once every fifteen minutes. I had thirty. This meant 30 poops every fifteen minutes. 120 every hour. For math buffs, that is 2,880 poops per day. In my bedroom. We were all glad when the babies were big enough to transfer to the coop. They had more room and I HAD a room, instead of sharing a chicken nursery.

I now have over 30 new chickens to keep track of, and the antics are unending. My Tales From The Coop stories posted on Facebook are continuing, and I suspect they will become even zanier with the larger cast of characters. This and other great action, including hen parties, contests, chats, etc., now happens on my Facebook fan page, which you can access at Come on over, like the page, Share my ad, share posts that you enjoy, and join the fun!

See you soon,

Catherine Anderson