Monday, March 31, 2014

Life on the Unfarm: an illustrated account

The chickens will sneak squirrel food whenever they get the chance, so the sight of them walking along the deck railing is a fairly common one.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Maximus: our newest arrival on the Unfarm

As you may remember, last year the Unfarm took several hits including the loss of Aspen, bringing our cat population down to one. Or half, maybe, because Mynx is rarely seen by anyone but myself and you cannot really pet her, let alone pick her up.  She is convinced that any attempts at affection are in truth a thinly veiled threat: surely we mean to harm her in some horrible manner and she screams bloody murder until we set her down and she can bolt back under the bed. 

Mynx's attitude combined with the loss of Aspen six months prior had me thinking: perhaps it might be time to start contemplating the addition of another feline to our household. Mynx did seem to be lonely, after all - she had taken to spending an unnatural amount of time outdoors hanging out with Chico, the neighborhood riffraff who technically resides next door but is regularly seen throughout the neighborhood terrorizing other cats and all small creatures that creep, crawl or fly. Hardly the kind of character we want Mynx associating with, even if he does seem to have a soft spot for our spotted softie.  

It seemed, therefore, serendipitous that last November I should receive an email from our local cat shelter, announcing that they too would be participating in the Black Friday madness: all of their black or mostly black cats would be available for adoption for the bargain price of $10, a whopping 90% off the usual price. Being the good bargain shopper my mother taught me to be, I could hardly pass up a deal like that now could I? The only real question was this: how to narrow it down to just one...? 
Maximus in a rare moment of stillness

My sister and I spent an arduous hour trying to decide which cat would become the newest member of the Unfarm. There were all manner of choices: sleepy kittens, playful kittens, striped kittens, spotted kittens, solid kittens, male kittens, female kittens and every combination thereof. Holding kitten after kitten was a tiresome, tedious task but we somehow managed to persevere, eventually settling on a small, black kitten who was in a kennel by himself, sitting quietly beside the door. (We had learned our lesson, you see - we chose Aspen because he was the "spunky" kitten in the litter, and I am pretty sure that most of his adult life was spent plotting ways to inflict harm upon his human captors, so this time around we went for calm and quiet.)  Acknowledging that this would be a companion for our Mynxy cat, we were also looking for a younger, male cat who might pose the least possible threat to Mynx. 
Max loves to play with plastic bags

The name Maximus was settled on in part because it went so well with Mynx and we headed home with our newest family member, bracing ourselves for the fallout: we had not asked permission to adopt Max knowing that had we asked we would have been told no. Mom's reaction was fairly predictable: she feigned dismay but spent an awful lot of time cuddling with something that "we can't possibly keep." Dad's reaction was exactly as predicted. We told him to close his eyes and hold out his hands. He did as requested and the second we set Max into his hands he burst out with, "Oh no!" and looked crestfallen to say the least. 
Max enjoys kitten food, long walks on the beach, and watching TV

Despite the odds, my parents came around to the idea of Max becoming a permanent fixture here on the Unfarm (this process was likely easier for Mom than it was for Dad) and part of the deciding factor may have been the effect Max had on my sister. She had been in something of a bad mood - which is putting it mildly to say the least, and she can be quite scary when she's in a bad mood - earlier in the day and Max was more effective (and faster acting) than Prozac on her sour mood. Kitten adoption fee: $10. Kitten food, toys, and assorted supplies: $54. Changing my sister from a fire breathing dragon to a cuddly teddy bear: Priceless.

Footnote: Thus far, Mynx has not appreciated our efforts to give her a companion to spend her days with and looks upon Max as some kind of tiny terror with ADHD whose main goal in life is to ruin hers. 
Despite what Mynx thinks, Max really does look up to Mynx. He is often seen making a careful study of her and trying to follow in her footsteps.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Construction finished

In case you haven't noticed, this blog has been under a bit of construction of late. The template I really liked appears to have inexplicably gone missing from the internet and I was forced to scramble to try and find a new favorite template which took FOREVER. You have no idea how many templates are out there. Do I use a blogger standard template, have someone design one for me, try uploading a free template off the internet, or try and learn to code so that I can make my own template? I contemplated learning to code for exactly 2.7 seconds. Not gonna happen. I find I lack the patience to learn to code, plus I graduated, remember? The fine print on my diploma states that I am no longer under any obligation to study anything. Ever. For any reason I choose.

I decided to wait on having a template designed for me, especially since my brother, who is usually my go-to guy for all things tech is off on a Code for America project for the next 10 months, and it is hard enough to convince him to help when he is in the same zip code. The fact that he is now 600 miles away means he is thoroughly out of my reach. Goodbye free coding help.

I then spent approximately 38 hours looking through the thousands of free blog templates and attempting to get at least one to work, and after all those hours I put in I was still dissatisfied with the result: the short lived red blog template you may or may not have seen on here in the previous couple of weeks.

So back to standard blogger templates it was and after a bit of searching I finally found one that I think will work for the time being. I probably should have saved myself a good deal of wasted time and increased stress by sticking to this idea from the beginning but that's just not how I roll. I like to waste time, get stressed out, yell at anyone and everyone, and end up going with the simplest option anyway. Hmm, I wonder if I could get that printed on a t-shirt...