The Farmhouse Menagerie

The Dogs…

The white dog of
 Oh, this dog….where do I even begin?  She was a hurricane from the very start.  A freight train with no brakes.  All muscle and inertia, she is a mass of wiggling kisses and love, and I never really believed that it was possible for a dog to have a sense of humor until she came along.  And that face!  There is just nothing like a boxer face.  Except another boxer face.


The little brown dog of Farmhouse38.comThis puppy is all puppy all the time; precious when she’s napping, a maniac when she’s awake–the boxer shenanigans never quit. For the record, there is truly nothing more entertaining than two boxers joyfully boxing one other. It’s my favorite sport.

The Birds…


The original chicken of Farmhouse38.comI’ve had this bird for 20 years now.  And she will probably outlive me….yep, didn’t read the fine print on that one.  She is an African Grey parrot with the approximate verbal skills of a three-year-old child.  If that three-year-old curses and belches like a sailor.  I have no comment on how or where she picked these things up.  Aside from that, she chatters all day long, yells at the dogs, serenades us with songs that she’s learned and also songs that she’s made up, and constantly startles us when she interjects into our conversation with a witty remark.  It is endless fun to watch her toss food out of her cage to one of the dogs, wait till said dog is busy eating the bait, and then slide silently down to where she can reach that beak out and pinch the poor dog in the butt.  You’d think they’d learn, but bird seed is just so darned good.

Darling Clementine:

Miss Clementine of

We often refer to Clem and Eloise as ‘the twins’, for obvious reasons, but their similarities end at their color and breed.  Clementine is something of a…lumbering oaf.  She is HUGE and inherently ungraceful, and when she comes running down the driveway to greet you, you can feel it in the ground like a herd of stampeding cattle.  When she squawks, it doesn’t sound like a sweet clucky little chicken…good lordy, it sounds like an angry goose on steroids.  In fact, up until she laid her first ginormous egg, we were convinced she was a he.  To say the least, she is the awkward sister.

Veruca Salt:

Veruca Salt of

I mean…look at this girl. A lovely, lavender Orpington, she is! All eyelashes and silver-feathered sweetness. I thought my other Orps were ‘fluffy’? Saltie takes the cake. No seriously, if there was cake she would take it.

Annabel Lee:

Annabel Lee of

This pretty Easter Egger girl has the distinction of giving me my very first blue egg. And though she’s not the friendliest (is it just me or does she look about a second away from pecking my eyeball in this photo?), she will hop up and sit in your lap as long as you don’t dare try to pet her.

Beatrix Potter:

Beatrix Potter of

My other lovely, bearded Easter Egger lady. This one held out on me. She didn’t lay her first egg until she was around ten months old (most hens start laying around four months), and I had long since given up on her. Then suddenly: green egg! They were so worth the wait. And I just gotta say…that is one, epic, blond hipster beard right there!

The New Girls:

Teenage chickens at

From left to right: Pippy Longstocking (Silver-laced Polish), Scout (Blue-laced Wyandotte), and Elphaba (Blue-laced Wyandotte). Added Spring of ’16.

The Cats…

The Stewart:

The Stewart of

So fancy for a barn cat–look at that tuxedo.  He was the Texan’s first-ever cat, and still loves to be held like a baby.  But only by the Texan.  The Stewart doesn’t have time for my attempts at affection.


Brix the cat of

We busted Brix out of the slammer not long after we got Stewie.  Stewart was going through a rebellious, teenage-angst phase, and we thought he might simmer down if he had a lady-friend.  Especially one with big blue eyes.  Strangely enough, it totally worked.  Brixie is a sweet, sweet girl, and because she is part Siamese, she is a chatty-catty; always talking, always saying hello.


Ole Blue of You're my boy, Blue!

Blue is actually my mom’s beloved cat, and when she moved and couldn’t take him with her, we, of course,took him in.  He is the last living (going on 20 years old) of three kittens that my mom literally found under a bush.  He is the old-timer, but still as spry and quirky as ever. And damn if he isn’t the best mouser of any cat I’ve ever known.


Voodoo cat of

“The Dude”. This guy is one of two rescued ferals that was going to be euthanized because he was not fit for rehabilitation.  I took him in because he’s actually a really, really sweet cat, but has been absolutely terrorized by people.  After several years, he will actually finally come up to me for pets; he likes his cushy, quiet life. He doesn’t care much for cameras, and proves very difficult to catch on film (living up to his name).

Gandalf the Grey:

Gandalf the Grey of

Gandalf is our other feral.  This poor guy, we think, had his hind quarters and tail run over, with no medical care afterwards.  He is missing half his tail, and his back legs and hips are pretty funky (though he gets around just fine).  He too, is just getting to a place where he’ll let me pet him, and he talks at me with the most adorable, tiny kitten voice I have ever heard on a grown man-cat.

Honorable Mention…


The Frog of

Ok, well, he’s not really our dog. Milo, aka ‘the Frog’, belongs to my brother’s family, but comes on doggy-vacay frequently to the Farmhouse.  This dog is pure comedy, 24-7.  He is best buds with Abbie and Phoebe, and they act like it is Christmas morning when he arrives.  He is even gentle with the chickens, though, the same cannot be said for the chickens.  I often look out in the yard and see Milo being hotly pursued by a certain ginger-hued hen.

In Memory:

Miss Gertrude Featherbottom:

Miss Gertrude of

What I wrote: Gertie is a saucy little thing.  If you are doing something that she does not approve, you will be sassed!  She is an incessant talker, a champion layer, and a mischief master.  She’s sweet to me (the keeper of the food), but she’s a little brat to the Texan; they have quite a love/hate relationship and he’s got the ankle scars to prove it.

Miss Eloise:

Miss Eloise of

What I wrote: Ellie-bellie is a princess.  She approaches everything with the self-entitlement of a gorgeous, busty blond who is used to getting by on her looks.  She does not like to get her feet dirty.  She does not squabble with the other girls over treats, she comes straight to the source and expects me to hand-feed her.  Accordingly, she lays the most perfect, petite lady-like eggs; not every day like Gertie, just when she feels inclined to be generous.


The yellow dog of

What I wrote: My thirteen-year-old, tree-climbing, squirrel-hunting, tug-of-war-cheating yellow mutt.  His age doesn’t slow him down, but it’s just a number, right?  Because no one believes me when I tell them he’s that old, anyway.  Especially when he’s running amok with the neighborhood kids or climbing trees.  Sigh.  He’s my sweet little ball of sunshine, gentle with everyone and everything (except squirrels).

Miss Mildred:

Miss Mildred of Farmhouse38.comWhat I wrote: Millie currently wears the Queen-of-the-Yard sash.  She rules the roost, but is also the sweetest, cuddliest girl; she didn’t get voted most popular for nothing!  Always on my heels, she is my little, speckled shadow while I am working in the yard, and if I rest too long in any one spot, she is immediately in my lap.


The original brown dog of

The funniest, slobberiest, sweetest ball of boxer-love.  Fiercely protective, fiercely loyal, and yet, the biggest ball of mush around his people.  My Hogie-bear.


“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France