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Two Furry, Friendly Helpmates on the Ranch

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 180

When we decided to invest in ranch land, we were immediately drawn to the rolling hills of our chosen area. We decided it was perfect for us, and that we would do fine on our own. We found that we could handle most situations that arose, but we soon discovered that with a little help from a few of our furry friends, they could help take care of the place in our absence.

One of the first things we were told to do was to get cats to keep the mice under control. Since we were weekenders for several years the house was empty a great deal of the time, so we decided to give it a try. One day a neighbor brought us a mama cat and five kittens. They immediately darted under the house not to be seen again until we were leaving to drive back to Dallas on Sunday. We left plenty of food and water and looked forward to seeing them all again upon our return the following Friday. When we drove up that Friday, we saw two small gray and white heads peeking out from under the house. Apparently, the mama and three of her kittens were not satisfied with the accommodations and had probably headed back to their first home.

We named our two loyal kittens Kit and Kaboodle. Kit was a friendly little fellow always coming around in an attempt to get a little attention while his sister was very shy. Neither nor my husband had ever had a cat: we were both avid "dog people". He told me, "these cats are here for one purpose - to kill mice. They're not to be pets, so I don't want to see you messing with them". Naturally, I did exactly that when he wasn't looking. Before long, Kit and Kaboodle were part of our extended family and did their job well. It wasn't long before Kit's friendly demeanor won my husband over. Now, Kit has lived in the house for many years (at my husband's insistence) and has no desire to return to the great outdoors. Kit now runs the household but allows us to share his home. We have since acquired several other cats to patrol the outdoors. We spay and neuter every one of our cats and have adopted a few strays along the way. My husband and I now have a deep respect for cats and appreciate all they do to keep our ranch free of rodents. They also keep our insect population under control and ward off snakes... all at no charge.

Our next acquisition was a jack (male donkey). We found a jack with a friendly disposition and a great personality. We had always heard that a donkey would protect calves from predators. At that time, we didn't know that what we really needed was a jenny (female donkey). After observing the jack for a few days my husband came up with the name Dumas. This name is a slight variation of a name reflecting both his IQ and species. We didn't want to embarrass him when he was being called in for a carrot, and we wanted to maintain a modicum of decorum. We were told that one of a donkey's favorite treats was sweet feed. Being ignorant city slickers, we would put out a bucket every weekend upon our arrival. Every time we would go for an ATV ride, Dumas would run alongside and kick up his heels. We thought he was just high-spirited, but we finally came to the realization that he was "high as a kite" from all the sugar in the sweet feed. One night we drove out to the biggest pasture on the ranch in the old pickup to observe a Leonid meteor shower. It was around midnight, and we parked where we could get a panoramic view of the sky. It was very quiet and dark, and suddenly Dumas stuck his head in the window and snorted scaring us both half to death. He thought it was great fun. Because of his high spiritedness, we had to find him another home; we had small grandchildren at the time and feared for their safety. We still haven't gotten a jenny, but our experience with Dumas made our mistake a worthwhile experience.

These are only two of our favorite helpmates on our cattle ranch. Their antics make life in the country even more enjoyable. We have discovered that every animal has a purpose - if only to make us laugh. In these trying times, that alone makes them worth their weight in gold.

Put on the brakes and picture what life in the country is like. As someone well-versed in country living, I can help you envision a lifestyle you may never have imagined. A few major benefits of country life are personal and family enrichment, long-term investment opportunities, agri-business and recreation. Residing in the country and helping others find a place in the country in which to live out their dreams has enriched my family.

Source: EzineArticles
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