Her Name was Fred

September 16, 2018 — Leave a comment

Fred was a cat. She was about 17 when we had to say goodbye. She was a good cat, a great hunter, and a royal pain in the ass. Here is her story.

It was 1984 when Linda Hunt, single mom with 2 teenagers started building a house. With the help of her brother-in-law and his cronies and her dad they finally finished the house in1986. It was about this time that I came down the road and Linda’s and my romance began. Shortly after this, daughter Lisa came home from school and said, “Mom, you remember you said I could have a cat after you got the house built” “Well here it is, this is Fred.” She went on to say that Fred was definitely a boy and when he is older we can have him fixed.

Kittens are cute and Fred made himself at home and rapidly became one of the family. Shortly after the arrival of Fred brother Chris came home with his “promised” snake. But that’s another story for another time. Fred made himself at home and everyone love Fred except for this one quirk. Fred would jump up on your lap and of course you would start petting him. He world purr and you would think he is going to sleep. When all of sudden he would jump up and bite you and leave. He never broke the skin and continued the quirk until he died.

Fred’s biggest downfall was, like most cats, he liked to hide. So, a couple of times he got locked in one of the kids bedrooms. And when he wanted out he wanted out. There was no one in the house to open the door so Fred tried his best to get out. He scratched at the door and clawed at the carpet to no avail. When the door was finally opened tempers flared! Fred was banished from the house!

About 3 months later I was at the house romancing when I noticed that Fred looked funny. Upon close examination I figured out 2 things; 1) Fred is a girl and 2) Fred is pregnant. Needless to say the whole house was in a tizzy. Lisa assured Linda that she would find homes for the kittens. And Linda relented that Fred could have the kittens in the house with everyone promising to never lock Fred in a closed room. Fred soon delivered 4 kittens and they were soon playing all over the house.

Before Lisa could find homes for all the kittens I guessed it was time to have Fred “fixed” a hysterectomy if you will. We took Fred to Dr. Tom Reed at Bargersville for the surgery and he reported that Fred had 5 embryos and was recovering well. Come get her in the morning. Fred recovered and was soon put outside forever. And for the next 16 years she tried to get in the house every time a door was opened.

Fred stayed on the front porch mostly and we had a dog crate for her to sleep in. She ate and drank on the porch and almost every day left a souvenir of her hunting prowess. There were mouse heads, mouse gall bladders, half eaten chipmunk and even a very small weasel. Fred ruled the neighborhood for several years.

We got new neighbors and with them came several kittens. As the kittens became full grown cats they started eating Fred’s food.  Fred would let them have it but sometimes a cat fight would ensue. The feeding the neighbors cats soon became a nuisance and I stared a campaign of re-homing the neighbor’s cats. It only took about a week and the neighborhood cat population was under control. Fred was back in control. However one day I noticed Fred had huge lump on the side of her face.

I took Fred to Dr. Reed and he said it was an infection probably from a cat fight. I left Fed there and Dr. Reed lanced the infection and kept her overnight. I picked her up the next day and he said to keep her inside for 2 weeks and gave me antibiotics to give her every day. Have you ever given a cat a pill? You can’t hide in their food or treats. You have to “simply” poke it down their throat hopefully not losing any fingers.

When I got Fred home I put her in a large dog crate in the garage with some water to drink when she woke up from her stupor. Evening came and Fred was still zonked out but I did put a dish of cottage cheese in with her so when she came to and was hungry she could eat a little. Lights out, bed time.

Next morning after a cup of coffee and time to let the dogs out I went to the garage and opened the door and turned on the light and looked down and Fred is still out of it. But, there is something in the crate with her. I step down into to garage and went to her crate and there were 2 dead mice. The mice must have come after the cottage cheese and Fred came out of her stupor just enough to kill them and then go back to sleep.

Wow, no one is ever going to believe this. What to do? Contrary to my best judgement I went and woke up Linda with get up you have to come see this. So an unhappy wife followed me thru the house to the garage and I open the door and said, look! Look at what she replied. Look at Fred’s crate.

Needless to say she was speechless for a bit. I didn’t think to take a picture but I do have a witness. Fred recovered from her surgery and lived a couple more years until she could no longer defend herself. So we decided it was time to say goodbye. Fred was aa great cat as far as cat are concerned. Believe it or not I still miss old Fred.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man

 

Edited and approved by Linda

From my windows on the world and the pond I have watched Mother Nature do sad things and wondrous things. The geese that at times seem to take over the reservation have always seemed to propagate at will. Even with the groundskeepers trying to eliminate hatchable eggs.  Last year there were many, more than I could count. Probably30 to 40 goslings make it to adult hood but this year, due to the grounds keepers finding nest and spraying the eggs with oil, the goose population has only been increased by maybe a dozen.

Ducks on the other hand had a really bad year in 2017. There were ducklings everywhere. It was so sad to watch the hens bring their ducklings out when they hatched and take them to the pond. A nest of 10 to 12 ducklings by the next morning would be down to maybe 2 or 3. Turtles’ gotta eat too! It was terribly sad to watch the little ducks disappear. Every morning there would be fewer ducklings and still mother duck took them to the water. With all the hatchlings that I saw maybe 40 or 50 there were probably no more than a dozen that survived to adult hood.

This year Mother Nature changed her ways and it has been great fun to watch the baby ducks grow. I think I only saw one mother take her babies to the water. The rest of the hens would take the babies to the edge of the pond and that was it. The mothers would stand guard like a trooper. She would never let the ducklings get more that 6 inches from the water’s edge. I know we lost several ducklings but the survival rate was astounding!

We have fed birds for years and have enjoyed watching them feed. The 1st couple of years we lived here we put out bird seed and nothing happened. But, beginning on the 3rd year the birds started to find the feeders and eventually passed the word because we now have lots of birds. They have even begun to nest in our bushes and trees. Must have at least a dozen nests in the shrubbery in front of the house.

Now, have I mentioned how messy birds are? Well, they are really messy. I set at the desk here and watch them eat and it seem like for very seed they eat they scatter 2 or 3 seeds on the ground. When we fed the birds in the country every spring I would have to shovel the spoiled seed under the feeders. Here at the reservation the ducks and ducklings keep the ground under the feeders almost as clean as a pin. Every day at least 20 almost mature ducklings come to the house and clean up after the birds. There are very few sprouts from the bird seeds. The ducks do a great job cleaning up.

It seems that Mother Nature balances things out over time; Never too many but always enough to maintain a wonderful balance of nature.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man      Edited and approved by Linda

This story was told to a lot of people by the person himself, Dallas Isley. It is a true story because his wife Mary always laughingly agreed with Dallas that it really happened. Dallas and my dad were 1st cousins and after my dad’s mother died when he was 14 they spent a lot of time together at their Granddads house where Lewis and Ruby Isley practically raised both boys. My dad thought so much about his step-grandmother that she lived with us the last 8 years of her life and I might add filled my mind with lots of old stories.

Now to the story, Dallas was a farmer and he and his wife Mary raised 3 daughters. The youngest was a few years older than me but I always remember her because of her name, Izetta.  Anyway they were farmers, just getting by most of the time but always willing to help anyone in need. Really good people who worked hard and raised their girls and because girls have to look nice the wardrobe for Dallas and Mary suffered to say the least.

It was summer and hay season, Dallas went to work to mow hay. It was a bright and hot day, ideal for making hay. He hooked the mower to the tractor and because he hadn’t repaired it, the PTO (power take off) guard was left off. If you don’t know, a PTO shaft is used to transfer power from the tractor to whatever implement you are using that day. All PTO shaft guards have safety warnings about the danger of using without the guard. Many farmers have been killed or severely injured by getting too close to an unguarded PTO shaft: they are unforgiving.

Make hay while the sun shines is the moto of the day and Dallas went to the field with an unguarded PTO shaft.  Why, because he was always careful and would never get close to a running PTO shaft because he always turned the shaft off before he got off the tractor. But, for some reason he didn’t this day. He was about half way thru the field when the clover got caught and balled up on the cycle bar which does not allow for smooth mowing. He stopped and failing to shut off the PTO got off the tractor and reaching over the turning shaft tried to dislodge the ball of hay when the PTO shaft grabbed his overalls. Now I’ve already said that Dallas’ wardrobe was not what you might envision. They were thread bare to say the least and in an instant they were gone, wrapped around the PTO shaft beating him about the legs and whatever. For you see it was a very hot day and all he had on were the overalls and there he was in the middle of the field buck naked. He said that after about an hour trying to unwind the overhauls from the shaft he gave up and drove the tractor to the house naked where Mary came to his rescue and brought him another thread bare pair of overalls before the girls could see him setting on the tractor naked. I think he said that he repaired the PTO guard that afternoon and before dark finished mowing the hay field.

Lesson learned, always read the warning labels no matter what tool you are using; you don’t want to end up standing naked in the field.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man

Edited and approved by Linda

Bucket List

August 13, 2018 — 1 Comment

It seems like that ever since the movie” Bucket List”  came out every one has to have a Bucket list. You know what a bucket list is, right. You probably have one. You know a list of things or places you must complete or visit before you die. Well I don’t have a bucket list because every day I see things that completely enthrall me.  I have been to lots of places and seen lots of things so if I don’t really need to go anywhere else.  I’ll be alright.

But I now live by the bucket, the 90 day bucket. You see my Oncologist, Dr. Ikhlaque who oversaw my chemo therapy and the radiation therapy mapped out the treatment and it was 20 days of radiation and 3 days of chemo then 3 weeks off then 3 days of chemo and 3 weeks off until 6 chemo treatments were finished.

After the 5th chemo treatment the Dr. had a CT scan taken and “after review” he decided not to give me the 6th treatment.  Your cancer is dormant and you need to eat more and gain weight, because at that point I weighed 140 lbs., and come back in 3 months and we will scan again and see what the cancer looks like.  Three months later the scan was the same as the last one so I started another 3 months bucket.

As an aside; my dad was in the Army during WWII and during his basic training someone nominated him for Officer Candidate School and he made it through OCS and became a 90 day wonder as they were called. So I guess maybe I’m becoming a 90 day wonder except my graduation won’t be at Fort Leonard Wood.

I’m starting, I think, my 5th bucket which when completed will make one year of dormancy for the cancer. Not bad for a person my age and as bad was when this all started. So you keep working on your bucket lists and I’ll keep working on my buckets and maybe we will meet somewhere along the way.

Thanks for listening

Richard Isley

Crotchety Old Man

 

Edited and approved by Linda

Update; at the 5th CT scan the Dr. found what appeared to be cancer in my liver. A biopsy confirmed the cancer and I have started a new treatment for my type of cancer; Immune therapy. I will have 4 treatments every 2 weeks and then another CT scan to see if the new treatment is working.

She Died !

August 10, 2018 — Leave a comment

Almost every summer from age 7 to 14 I spent a week at Grand pa Isley’s farm.  I got to drive the tractor, milk cows, feed hogs, and play in the river. I really loved milking cows.  There have been many times when I thought I made a mistake in not going in the business with my grandfather but if I had I would not be here writing stories.

It was about mid-week when at the evening milking grandpa noticed one cow that he said appeared sick. We need to watch her in the morning because she really doesn’t look right. Well, being a good dairyman he really knew his cows and sure enough the next morning even I could see that she was worse than the day before. As we finished milking grandpa told us to finish up and clean the milk house while he went to the house and called the vet. I need to explain us; us was me and my uncle Randy who is still 10 months younger than me.

After finishing the rest of the morning chores we had just sat down for breakfast when a car pulled into the barn lot. It was Dr. Barlow the Vet. I can remember his name because I had an Uncle Bill Barlow who was a really neat guy. He was married to my dad’s sister but no relation to the Vet. We went out to welcome the Vet. and grandpa explained the cow’s condition. Dr. Barlow went into the barn and examined the cow.  When he came out of the barn he said Webb your cow is going to die. I’m not sure what she has but she is definitely dying.  At that point the Vet. said I have some medicine that might make her better but it might kill her. Grandpa said I guess I don’t have anything to lose so give her the shot.

The good Vet retrieved a bottle of medicine and a syringe and went back to the barn.  When he returned he removed his boots and put his shoes  on. He sat in the front seat of his car and wrote out his bill for the visit that included the injection. He handed the bill to grandpa and they shook hands when there was a loud kerthud from the barn. The vet said, Webb she died, and got in his car and left.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The crotchety Old Man

Edited and approved by Linda

 

SERVICE

July 23, 2018 — Leave a comment

My daughter came into the house complaining about spending $1.25 to air up her tires. We talked for a while about the ways service has declined in most businesses. So many things that were called service were just expected. Elevator operators, Doormen, when you bought a new tire it was mounted, balanced and put on the car at no extra cost; that was service!

You needed gas you went to a “service station” and the attendant pumped the gas, cleaned the windshield and back glass, checked the oil, and checked the tire pressure: all that for the $.30 price of the gas. That was service! But, because we were all in a hurry we, instead of waiting our turn got out of the car and pumped our own gas. And, like so many things self-service started slowly but eventually became the norm.

About 10 years ago we took a 3 week dog show and sightseeing trip to the west coast. We showed a couple of our girls at the Great Western Terrier Show at Long Beach California. After three days dog showing; we went north to visit some relatives of Linda and then on to Oregon. I was born in Oregon but, you have to think about this, I had never seen it. So we went to Salem, Or. We spent 3 days there sightseeing and luckily saw the Salem General Hospital where I was born about a month before it was demolished. Also saw what was left of the Oregon Mental Hospital where I was almost born. That’s a story I think I’ve already told.

Part of the sightseeing was driving in the country and finding wineries. A great day and we brought back several bottles of fine wine. When we returned to the motor home I luckily noticed the car was running on fumes. I let Linda out to potty the dogs and I headed to a gas station. Found one just a few blocks away. Pulled up to pumps and got out and proceeded to put gas in the car.

WOW! A young man came running out of the little store yelling and waving his arms! “You can’t do that! Stop!” “What I asked?”  The lad replied, “you can’t pump gas. It’s against the law. ”What I ask?” The lad took the gas nozzle from me and asked, how much and I said fill it up. While he was filling the tank he explained the Oregon gas pumping law and also said that New Jersey has a similar law. Seems these laws were passed to protect jobs. But the young man did not clean my windshield.I read a few years ago that Oregon repealed the gas pump law which leaves New Jersey to stand alone to protect the jobs of the gas pump jockeys.

So today when you go shopping and you are dissatisfied with the service if you go to the front of the store and look around you will find the culprit; Self Service!

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man                                  Edited and approved by Linda