You're supposed to be humming that to the tune of "Unforgettable", of course.
I've been away from the farm for a bit, traveling/talking. Got back a few days ago, to the usual stack of urgencies, old standards and new surprises.
One of the few nice ones was this:
Click the pics for bigger. The best crop of morels we've had in quite a few years. I knew they were out there; and all 3 of us (minus any mushroom stomping dogs) went out looking this morning; with just this one basket. What we have here is the yield from just 2 patches, one grey morels, and one brown (or white and yellow, depending on your vernacular.)
Unreliable; is what they are. I don't have a clue how to predict the morel yield; it's just wildly variable, from year to year. We have no shortage of dead elms, ever; so that's not it. I think I do remember a year when we had nearly so many per tree, but it was decades ago.
So how is this a problem? There's all this food out there- just screaming to be harvested. Irritating, disruptive, and pretty much impossible to ignore. My guess is we'll wind up freezing some. It's a little hard to dry things here right now- we're off wood fuel for cooking and on propane; and the weather is frequently cool/cloudy. One mushroomer friend dries his - on the dash of his car. But I'm a little too afraid of bad plastic stuff in cars- you know, that lovely "new car smell"- which is in fact toxic.
So; work, work, work. On top of regular chores. :-)
Then; there's the cat/kitten problem.
Our regular cat is missing in action. He's been gone for 3 weeks, and we're guessing he's not coming back. He was (or is) an intact tom, and extraordinarily sweet and well behaved; which is why he was intact; we were thinking about arranging for kittens one day. But he would, like most toms, take off occasionally; usually for 2-3 days. He'd come back a little scarred and scabby; but happy.
Not this time. It's very sad, of course; we'll miss him. He was part of the family.
We also have mice, however; and we need a cat. I casually discussed this with Spice a few days ago, basically saying "we'll probably need to think about a replacement eventually..."
The result, one day later:
Two black orphaned kittens. 2 weeks old- a dicey age. Spice took Smidgen to her end of school picnic, on the teacher's parents' farm- and there the 30 pre-schoolers were confronted with a dead momma cat, and 6 dead kittens. Shocking, and fascinating, of course. Spice noticed that 2 of the kittens, cold and very hungry, were in fact still moving slightly...
She proceeded to rescue them, right in front of the kids. Just like in the movies. "I'll need a sharp pen knife, and a ball-point pen..."
Ok, what she actually said was, "I'll need an egg, condensed milk, sugar, water, and some kind of syringe with no needle." Which was not quite right, but close enough to revive them.
You can buy "kitten formula"; which is wildly expensive, and not quickly available out on the farm. Or you can make your own. This formula works for most young mammals; I've used it for baby cottontail rabbits, too; quite successfully.
Actually- condensed milk is not the right thing- you want to use dry milk; it's more digestible. So; something like this; 1/2 egg yolk (only) counts as "1 part"; then add 3 parts reconstituted dry milk, 1 part cooking oil, and 1/3 part sugar. Get it into them, somehow.
It's time consuming as all get out. They need to eat frequently, including in the middle of the night; and kittens this young need help just to pee; you have to massage their tummies. Their eyes are open; vets give kittens this young a 50-50 chance. So far, we've been tending them 2 days; and they seem to be doing ok; one coughing a little.
But it's rewarding, too, of course.
Both males. Probable names, Snowball, and Henri. Smidgen loves saying "chat noir".
Update, 5/23. We started giving Snowball, the cougher, a pinhead's worth of antibiotics yesterday- and today he is a good deal more active. Both still with us; seem to be thriving.
And the morels? Ha. Unreliable is right. Just got back from looking at another 60 or so reasonably appropriate dead elms. 2 of which had appreciable numbers of morels. My first statistical sample included 10 elms; 2 of which were absolutely loaded, and another 3 of which had moderate crops. So much for statistical predictions. Hm.