Haha hahahaaa! (That's me, laughing like the lunatic I've become.) I woke up last night because I didn't hear the cats.
Morning Mouse took a few days off, but came back. Who says mice can't be trained? Mouse sits patiently in the feed barrel like a rider at a bus stop. I put the scoop bucket down next to him, he steps in, I lift him out and take him to a safe corner where he gets out, gives a wave of his tail, and says, "See ya tomorrow."
In the dark before dawn, Ralph and Celeste are playing ping-pong in the (empty) bathtub with my rubber ducky. (Stop that! I can hear you laughing, you know.) Celeste appears like a small grey ghost whenever I'm in the bathroom, and she evidently liked the idea of some one-on-one at bedtime. We did a repeat of the nighttime lovies. Bessie Anne is accepting of her after just one night. Ralph, not s'much. She has not hurt him in any way, but just giving chase down the hall has put the fear of Dog into him. I've got to remember that it's been only a week and these things do take time.
My niece, who researches such things, told me that Ralph is a "red cat." Red cats are tabbies with a specific chromosomal pattern and are usually male, known for mellow personalities. They're also called marmalades, and it is easy to see why. When Ralph is brave enough to join his sister (?) in the bathroom, he stretches and rolls and, unlike prior cats in my experience, wants his belly rubbed like a dog.
I've created a group of milk junkies down in the barn. With the change in routine, Inga is now first up on the stand. The mice must wait because of Inga's nondirectional teats; there's no way I can squirt a serving over to their juice bar from her. They line up as I bring in Sheila, their milk goddess. As many as a dozen push and shove to slurp up their warm liquid gold. Grain is forgotten on the ground while they drink their fill. Who knew?
Satomi reintegrated safely with her little flock. I've mentioned it before, but the best way to introduce or reintroduce a chicken to an existing flock is after dark when the others are asleep. When they wake up in the morning, it goes something like, "Oh, hello. You look familiar, dear, but I've forgotten your name." Chickens seem to have short- and long-term memory loss. Put an unfamiliar hen in the pen during the daytime and they're in real danger from the others as an intruder. The little girls have accepted the turkey hens at breakfast, but yesterday a tom jumped in. One of the barred Rock hens fluffed up and charged. That hen kept that turkey, three times her size, from getting more than just a few grains of corn. Those lazy, good-for-nothing roosters looked on while she held the tom at bay. Women's work is never done.