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4 kittens

Plot holes resolved in a semi-tidy way.

Posted on 2015.08.16 at 10:39
In Montana, we went to visit Jammies' first-cousin-once-removed's bobcat farm. Bobcat farms are dwindling - fur is not so politically cherished any more - and the cousins are shutting their farm down in the next year or so.

The bobcats flung themselves in agitation around their cages as we passed by.  They have almost 400 bobcats. Bobcats are the largest spotted cat in the US which is not endangered. They used to raise mink, back when Jammies visited the farm as a child. Then they raised lynx for a short while, but they will bite your finger off in a snap. Then they switched to bobcat.

Yes, it was super depressing to see beautiful caged creatures. But it was surprisingly easy to suspend my disapproval and enjoy the farm qua field trip.  Plus the farm is about to shut down - it's easy to drop the anguish when the situation is already resolving itself.

They also raise coyotes:

not for the pelts, but for the urine. Coyote urine sells for $24/gallon, and during urine season they can collect 10-12 gallons a day. There were run-off sheets under each cage, to collect the pee.  Urine Season lasts about 4 months, which I assume is actually hunting season, and they make about $40K. Again, the coyotes lived caged awful lives, but it's winding down.

The cousin led the corridor of coyotes in a startling round of howling. It sounded like unison sirens that went on and on and on.

We saw the machine that grinds the meat into feed, and the enormous freezer-shed of meat, and the golf-cart turned feeder - you shovel the brown meat glop into a built-in trough, and a hose squirts out the brown paste, so that you can drive down the corridors of animals and feed them more efficiently.

The cousin and Pokey bonded. She showed him pelts of mountain lion, ring tailed cat, bobcat, and mink, and Pokey asked tons of questions.  At the bunny cage, Pokey saw a funny tufted rabbit and asked what it was called. "Oh, I'm not sure, honey," said the cousin. "The kids name the bunnies, but I can't keep track." I clarified and said, "I think he wants to know what kind of rabbit species this is." She clutched her heart, "I was the same way when I was a kid! That's a Lionhead Rabbit, honey." Pokey and Hawaii were both bright-eyed and curious, instead of being yawning and jaded. I was relieved about that - we could have easily been the rude asshole cousins from the suburbs.

Hawaii did not like the electric fence surrounding the garden. "Wouldn't it hurt the animals?" she asked. "Couldn't they put the garden in a greenhouse instead?"

A bobcat farm is a lot of work. "Over here, I throw 20-30 lb chunks of meat into the grinder for about two hours, every couple days, to make the feed" and "I've never taken a vacation, because there's no one else who can feed the animals" and "If I go camping or to the lake, I leave at 6 am to get back to the farm. I'm never gone longer than that."  She seemed cautiously optimistic on the opportunities afforded by the closing of the farm, but presumably she feels quite conflicted about the whole thing.


"Do something cute," I prompted each kid:

The kids played with Jammies' old Star Wars toys:

All the figurines are stored in this (large) carrying case:

I loved on the stand-up paddle boards a little more, and then it was time to leave Montana and drive the descent into hell/Texas.  Through the outer rings of Montana, where we saw Riff Raff's tour bus:

who is this guy:

He seems kind of grody, very proud of his grill, and likes to grope Katy Perry. According to my cursory google image search.

Then down through Wyoming:

We bought a lot of gas station cappuccino on the way. They sure do honor the dignified Italian tradition.

This one likes beef jerky:

I call this photo below, "Green Muck With Tiny Background Train":

taken at Clear Creek, in Cheyenne, Wyoming:

where we stopped to play on the playground and stretch our legs.

The kids watched the same three shows virtually unbroken for four days: Hawaii picked The Wiggles, Ace picked Frozen, and Pokey picked Paw Patrol. (The Wiggles is about four years too young for Hawaii; if she were picking it to annoy Pokey, would she have done so quite so relentlessly?)("Paw Patrol" is misheard by everyone who hears it spoken outloud. Commonly adults hear "Pop a troll" or "Papa Troll", inevitably something about a troll. It's actually problem-solving puppies.)

In New Mexico:

I call that two-photo series "Travel Maps In New Mexico".

And this one is "Wind Farm Pieces On a Train Outside Amarillo":

In Amarillo, we stayed at my beloved Fifth Season Hotel. The left out season, the discarded season.

One time I recieved a J. Crew catalog with the helplessly pretentious cover claiming "There is an extra season between winter and spring..." which was the theme of the catalog: great clothes for cold, wet, gray late-February Irish- or Welch-seeming days. Think tall riding boots and plaid ponchos. An extra season and we're going to outfit you for it.  Totally innappropriate for our extraneous-seasoned hotel.

Aside from the beautiful plant decor and general haunting datedness, The Fifth Season has an indoor pool, which is perfect for August:

and charming carpet:

(Full disclosure: the 102 degrees was back home in Heebieville, not actually in Amarillo.)

The last CD of The Summons, by John Grisham, did exceed my low expectations. I feel ethically compelled to acknowledge this. The plot holes were actually resolved in a semi-tidy way. I probably would have edited out the middle six CDs.

"We represent the Lollipop Guild":

The Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild.


Yet another summer is over and the kids can't swim. I'd planned to take Hawaii and Pokey out myself, and at least get them swimming safely underwater. But the rain never let up for the first month or so, and then when it did, Pokey broke his arm.  Geeblets still can't swim.

Me and My Medical Issues

Before Montana I had a mole removed. The labwork called it "mild to moderately abnormal," so I went back so that they could scoop out the margins. I hate the procedure. It gives me the willies to think about little divots scooped out of my skin.  It's right on the bone ridge in my forearm and the original scoop was already taking forever to heal.

Pokey and His

Pokey got his cast off. His arm was dinky and smelly underneath, and he tentatively worked his elbow open. He is now in a brace for two weeks. He calls it his "slice". I explained that that would be very confusing to other adults. He explained that he likes to give things nicknames.

Rascal and his ringworm:


E. Messily is coming to stay with us for a semester! She will be our foreign exchange student, except she's not foreign, there is no exchange, and she's not a student. More like a lovely roommate. She left Missoula yesterday for the long boring drive down.

We've never had a roommate before! I keep seeing our life through new eyes and wondering if I should be embarrassed about the pantry full of Diet Coke and the fact that I often microwave vegetables for dinner.  All the ways in which I misrepresent my life online will be revealed! The kids actually fight constantly, and yes it's tiresome.

Bye bye summer:

Back to school workshops start this week.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2015-08-16 22:21 (UTC) (Link)

Microwave vegetables!

You actually get your kids to eat vegetables? I am so impressed.

I am reduced to microwaved cheeseburger sliders. NOT EVEN KIDDING.

Sometimes I can get her to eat stirfry. That had veggies in it.

Your vacation sounds awesome.
(Anonymous) at 2015-08-17 06:17 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Microwave vegetables!

I love microwaved vegetables. I don't love 15-hour days of driving. I'm in Tucson now though, which I do love. See you soon!
X. O. X. O.
E. Messily
heebie_geebie at 2015-08-24 17:30 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Microwave vegetables!

They do eat vegetables! With zero seasoning. As basic as possible. And with some griping.
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