“Fire” is a season in Oregon… and other musings on a hot & smoky afternoon

It’s almost hard to remember back to last month when our sky was blue. Things have been coated with a pale tan haze for several weeks now with at least another couple to go before prevailing winds and autumn rains cleanse the sky.

Many people joke that Construction is a season here. I refer to spring as Mud Season in a semi-loving manner, but in reality it’s Fire Season that is the hardest. Our state burns in the summer (as do many others in the western US.) Today has been one of the worst days. Smoke is visibly wafting across the back field, even though the closest fire is separated from us by about 50 miles. We are not even close to an evacuation situation, and we do recognize that there are many areas that have it worse than we do.

I worry about our animals during these smoke filled days that are reaching 100° and above. I try to avoid walking near where I know my little feral cat, Joy, sleeps outside because she runs to greet me when she sees me out checking on the goats or the birds. I don’t want to rouse her from where she sleeps in the thicket of Red Valerian and Honeysuckle we refer to as the Old English Garden to pull her out into the heat and smoke, and she will if she sees or hears me so I sneak (or at least imagine that I do.)

After being part of our family for 6 years she’s a strange mixture of the completely feral cat that I discovered living in the culvert by the driveway in the field and a sweet loving kitty who craves a family but is afraid to commit to being in the house with the rest of our kitteh pride. I am allowed to touch her, but everyone else is given a wide berth or is lucky to catch a glimpse of her at all. By touch I mean just that too; stolen strokes along her sides while she’s rubbing around my legs. There are no stereotypical kitty snuggles. I’m working on her trust issues while she works on my patience issues.

Our crazy goose decided to start setting her nest with the last of her eggs awhile back. They should have hatched by now and yet I can’t bring myself to disrupt her to take them away. Geese are supposed to know what their eggs are doing and will abandon their nest when the eggs are infertile or won’t hatch. She’s still diligent and committed to her nest though her partner and I grow increasingly concerned. He and I don’t chat about it much though as he is still protecting her right to privacy and he’s mean af on a good day.

Our back pasture on a Not-Fire-Season Day
Our back pasture today…
Joy. Cats Paw Farm’s feral

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