Zip On The Back Porch

Zip found the wicker chair on the back porch. The same chair that Minnie loved to sleep in, sometimes cuddled up with Flo and later by herself.

Last night when I parted the curtain to close the bathroom window, there was Zip, the white triangle of his nose glowing in the moonlight, over the arm of the chair.  He was looking right at me.

“Well, hello Zip,” I said through the screen,  “I see you found the comfy chair.”

The day before he had jumped up on my lap while I sat reading in that same chair.  But this was the first time I saw him there by himself.

It wasn’t a surprise really,  of course, he would be there.  It’s what cats do, find the softest coolest, or warmest (depending on the weather) place to sleep.

Making Zip Potholders

Nine of the ten Zip Potholders I stitched and painted this weekend.  As always I stitched and painted each one so they are all slightly differnt.

I only got to my studio once last week.  But I found I couldn’t work.  I wasn’t ready.  So instead I cleaned it up.  I put away the fabric left on my worktable from making my Raven quilt.  I swept the floor and emptied the trash.

But by Saturday I needed to do some work.  It’s one of the ways I come back to myself.   And I knew just what I wanted to do.

I already had a drawing that I’d made two weeks ago.  It was inspired by the photo I took of Zip peeking under the barn door, just after we let him out of the crate.

Now I just had to translate it using my sewing machine, fabric and paint.

First I did all the stitching except his whiskers.

I used permanent marker to fill in and highlight his pupils.

Then came the paint.  That part was more fun than I expected.

I had to wait a day for it to dry before I could add the whiskers.   This morning I ironed the painted part, which sets the paint and makes it permanent.   Now it can be washed in cold water.

Then I stitched the whiskers.

I made ten in all.  A few are already spoken for, but once I finish making them into actual Potholders, I’ll be selling them in my Etsy Shop.  They will be $30 + $5 shipping.  I think they might be popular as Christmas gifts, so I can see making more.

Dewy Morning

I can see the mist raining in the morning air.  It doesn’t fall down, but races horizontally, or on a slight slant, in one direction, then the next, like a cross-hatch drawing in constant motion.

The dew softens everything making it all seem a bit more gentle.

Zip On The Back Porch And In My Lap

Zip peeking out of the flowers in my back porch garden

Zip is slowing making his way around the farm.  Two days ago he was afraid to come up on the back porch.  Yesterday, as I sat there reading, he appeared in the garden, looking at me.

When I called his name, he came up on the porch…

…up onto the chair…

….and, for the first time,  into my lap.  It didn’t make for good reading, and I eventually made him get off my lap.  But it shows how he is learning to trust me even more.

Zip Exploring The Dahlia Garden

More and more Zip is venturing out of the barn.  He needs a little coaxing but then gets to exploring.

I have a feeling he already knows the barnyard pretty well.  He slips under the gate as if he’s been doing it all his life.  Zip is much more comfortable there than going into the yard and towards the road.  Which is a good thing.

This morning I watched as he wandered in and around the Dahlia garden.

I still have his crate in the barn, with his water bowl in it.  I moved his kitty litter box closer to the door to encourage him to go outside the barn.  And he eats on top of the haybales.  In a day or two I’ll move his water bowl and take the create away.

I’m not sure where he is sleeping now, but it’s not in the crate.

Zip Is Chasing The Pigeons Out Of The Barn. And I’m Fixing The Barn Windows

Zip looking up at me through the hole in the hay loft floor

I looked down through the hole in the hayloft floor that I climbed through just a few minutes before and there was Zip looking up at me.  Maybe he thought I was a big pigeon.

I was in the loft to see if I could reach the window the pigeons have been using to get in and out of the barn for the past two years.  I’ve been meaning to fix the three broken planes of glass, but never got around to it.

Now six of the 12 lites of glass were broken.  Zip started stalking the pigeons after we let him out of the crate.  It seems that part of establishing himself as king of the barn, is to rid it of the pigeons who have made it their home since Flo died and Minnie stopped living in the barn last year.

This spring I followed the birth of a pair of pigeons from egg to when they left the nest.  But now I want the pigeons out as much as Zip.

Every day they’re crashing through the barn windows, the glass shattered on the ground in the barnyard.  Zip has made his presence known and the pigeons are finding their home is not the safe place it used to be.

Fixing the barn window

I found I could easily reach the window in the hayloft with the 8 foot ladder.  So I pulled it up through another hole in the barn floor.  This one big enough to through hay bale through.

That’s when I saw the two fledgling pigeons huddled together on a bean inside the barn.  They looked terrified.

Since Zip came to the farm, their lives have drastically changed.  I felt bad for them and tried to let them know I wouldn’t hurt them.  I made sure to close the door between the two barns so Zip would have less of a chance of finding them.

The pigeons, a few days away from flying.   Their parents can still get to them to feed them.

Once I was up on the ladder I could see that the window had been cobbled together, two sashes screwed to each other, then held in place with more screws.

It was easy to remove with the right drill bit.

Fixing the barn window

One of the few things left in the basement when we bought the farm was a stack of glass, some still with thin sheets of paper between the lites.  So I have plenty of glass even if I made a mistake and cut one too short.

Instead of using glazing, as  I usually would, I decided to use caulk.  The window is so high no one would see it and it’s quicker and easier to use. First I put a bead of caulk on the lip of the pane, put in the glass and a few glazing points (the little pieces of metal that help hold the glass in) then a thicker bead of caulk.

While  I waited for it to dry, I cleaned and fixed a few panes of glass on the window on the bottom floor of the barn that the pigeons also flew through.

Next came the paint.  When it was dry, I screwed the window back in the barn. After that I stapled a piece of hardware cloth over the window on the inside of the barn.   This way the pigeons couldn’t push the lites of glass out if they tried to fly out of the barn.

But it wasn’t until had lowered the ladder through the hole and put it away, that I worried that the pigeons might try to fly into the barn not realizing there was glass and hardware cloth to stop them.

So I went back up into the loft, pulling the ladder past the fledgling pigeons once again, and put pieces of duct tape on the hardware cloth hoping they would see it as a deterrent.

Ideally, I would have liked to put the tape on the glass as I did on the lower windows, but I don’t have a ladder tall enough to reach the window from the outside of the barn. Also, it was getting dark and I had been working at this for most of the day.   I just didn’t have it in me to remove the hardware cloth and put it back again.

The Barn window with window fixed and secured with hardware cloth on the inside.

Even with the windows blocked off, there are other ways for the pigeons to get in and out of the barn.  But they are not hanging around the way they had been.  I’m sure they are confused and uncertain if our barn is still a good place for them to raise their young.

This morning as a few pigeons pecked around the barnyard, Zip was on to them.   He slipped under the fence and got as far as peeking into the pole barn. He retreated after seeing the barn was full of sheep and donkeys.

I never expected so much turmoil when we brought Zip to the farm.  Somehow I didn’t associate the pigeons with not having an active barn cat.  But now I can see how Minnie and Flo kept pigeons from nesting in the barn all these years.

Zip is already earning his keep.  I loved having the pigeons here this summer.  Watching them grow up and learning all about them.  But I can see if they continue to nest in the barn, there will be to many of them.

I have a feeling the pigeons will not be here for much longer.

Full Moon Fiber Art