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Archive for April, 2014

Nacho Libre, Hero in Recovery

Nacho Libre, Hero in Recovery

Note: While some literary license has been taken, this tale is based on actual events that took place on the nights of April 20 and 21, 2014.

This is Nacho Libre, best known round here simple as The Nach.  At first glance, to the casual viewer, he is an ordinary tabby cat, but I assure you, dear reader, he is many things, but ordinary is not among them.  Indulge me a moment as his tale of valor unfolds.

Nacho was an unexpected member of our household. He came into our lives in a most unusual manner. We were on our way to a Tapas party/Bible study, and running a little late, when the pick up truck ahead of us slowed to a stop. The passenger side door opened and a striking tabby kitten was unceremoniously tossed from the vehicle. The cat instantly turned and tried to leap back inside, but his little body met a boot instead of the soft interior of truck. The door quickly closed, leaving the wee feline fellow sitting bewilderdly in the middle of our country road.

My bride and l looked at one another and agreed that A. the people in the truck were less than human and B. we couldn’t leave the poor chap to whatever fate would befall him if we failed to intervene.

The little furball turned out to be a most agreeable kitten and easily allowed Brittan to pick him up. We turned the vehicle around and headed home to introduce our new friend to the rest of the collection of dogs and cats who graciously allow us to live with them.  The name we chose was easy and quite natural since we found him on  our way to a Tapas dinner. There wasn’t even a debate. He was, and will always be, Nacho.

Nearly a year has passed since our serendipitous meeting, and Nacho has become a much loved and appreciated family member. He loves all of God’s creatures whether human, mammal or avian. He is often seen cuddled with one of our Mastiffs or grooming them as if those giant brutes were his own children.  The dogs love him, the farm animals accept him, and Gisabella the tabby cat, as queen of this castle, tolerates him as a necessary inconvenience.

It has been my considered opinion that there was not a violent bone in Nacho’s body. He is a lover, not a fighter. My opinion forever changed last night when urgency released the lion hidden beneath the lamb.

Our country neighborhood has been plagued the past few months by a pair of chicken killing cats. One is a huge yellow brute and the other is a rather ordinary looking thing, but black as death and savage as a devil.

Even we, despite the watchful eye of Romeo, our guardian donkey, lost a hen recently, when one of the two butchers slipped in and grabbed a sleeping bird while Romeo was otherwise engaged. Once the donkey became aware of the invasion, he sprang into action and chased the killer across the pasture, forcing the beast to drop the carcass before jumping over the fence and escaping. Not much gets by Romeo, so this foul creature must be something released from Abyss itself.

Two nights ago, in the hours after midnight, but long before the first rays of dawn touch the eastern sky, the silence was shattered by the cries of not one, but two cats in a struggle just outside our window. The skirmish was brief and the sound of a cat fleeing across our deck and into the night, was clearly audible.

Some ninety seconds later, Nacho scratched at the door, wanting in, as his evenings work was complete. He was none the worse for wear, though a subtle swagger was evident in his stride.

He lounged the day away, then about nine last evening he pleaded to go outside. Since we live in the country and Nacho has always been an inside/outside cat, we relented. His usual pattern is to run off towards the greenhouse in search of adventure or rodents or both. Last night, however, he went to the edge of the porch, went into a crouch and began to scan the horizon like a sentry on a wall.

At roughly 4:30 a.m. The interloper returned, undoubtedly in search of a chicken dinner. Romeo was on baby goat duty two pastures and three gates away so was in no position to lend assistance. The dogs were inside, all nestled in bed, while visions of sugar plumbs danced in their heads. The hens were roosting in the semi comatose way hens do, vulnerable to even the most inept predators. The thing that stalked them, though, was anything but inept.

As the creature skulked through the starlight, sniffing the air trying to locate the nearest potential victim, the roosting hens one hope was a once abandoned tabby with an unnatural love for dogs. Nacho Libre was on patrol.

I can almost picture the scene as my striped lover boy positioned himself in the monster’s path.

“You shall not pass!”

In an instant, in less than in instant, the two felines met tooth and claw in mid air, slashing and biting as they tumbled to the earth. The night erupted in the sounds of battle as the combatants screamed and swore, one intent on murder, the other determined to prevent it.

Two pastures and three gates away, Romeo the vigilant, gathered his charges behind him, pricked his ears and brayed a warning to the invader and encouragement to Nacho the defender. I could hear the urgency in Romeo’s voice. If he could have done so, he would have stood beside dear Nacho and ended the beast’s reign of terror once and for all.

The screams were now primal as the battle moved from the deck to the ground.  I leaped to my feet to grab a flashlight and a rifle, but, as quickly as it had begun, the battle was over and silence reigned. I opened the back door and stepped outside, fearing the very worst, but what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an exhausted, but victorious tabby cat now ready for a long winters nap.

Nacho entered the house, had a quick bite of food and a drink of water and went to his bed for a well earned sleep.

I was at the feed store this morning when Nacho limped out of bed, in obvious pain. Brittan called the vet, thinking the cat’s leg was broken. She had Nacho in her arms and was headed to the car when I arrived back.  Because it was raining, I merely tossed the feedbags in the barn and off we went to have our brave soldier looked at.

Resting comfortably

Resting comfortably

The veterinarian quickly assessed the damage and determined that while the leg was not broken, Nacho was covered in bites and scratch marks, some of them serious and gruesome.  Our knight in stripey armor had protected the flock, defended the manor from the devil cat and driven the beast away, but had paid a price to do so. He is on antibiotics and anti inflammatories. He has slept pretty much all day and will be forced to stay in for a few days. We feel so bad for our hero. He won’t be able to take his turn on patrol for a while, but I have a feeling Devil Cat won’t be visiting East of Eden Farms, for a long, long, long time, if ever again. He met is own nightmare, and his fear has a name, NACHO LIBRE!

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SquashThe gorgeous Spring weather the last few days has me more psyched than ever regarding this year’s garden.  We have a few CSA shares left so it’s not too late to get in.  IMO, while it’s ok to wait and buy things from our Farmer’s Market Booth, it’s a whole lot LESS risky to know you’ll have produce by signing up for a CSA share.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to spend the next few updates, tempting you, my dear readers, with some of the varieties we’ll be growing this year. CSA members will always get the first baskets. If there are any leftovers, they will go to the Farmers Markets.

Today, I want to talk about the Squash varieties we’ll be growing. I am very excited about them.

First, there is the summer squash. This is Georgia, so obviously, we’ll be growing the requisite Yellow squash (straight AND crooked neck) and Dark Green Zucchini. We want to make sure you have plenty because we know how Southerners love fried squash and zucchini. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Don’t forget, though, that there are many other ways to cook up summer squash. If you need some ideas, just use the comment section to ask, and we’ll share some of our favorites (CSA members will receive recipes each week with their baskets as our way of saying Thank You for your support).

We’ll also be growing lots of white Scallop Squash. Some people call them, Patty Pan. They are delicious.

Zephyr Squash

Zephyr Squash

We’re going to be adding Zephyr Squash to the rotation for the first time this year. They are beautiful two toned vegetables that have an almost addictive nutty quality to them.

We’re growing an interesting variety of Zucchini called, Partenon. In fact, we already have a couple plants growing in the greenhouse. Partenon is a rare, self pollinating variety that can be grown in a greenhouse. Like I said, we have some growing in the greenhouse now, but will plant some outside as well.  I’m really looking forward to trying it.

Let’s not forget about Spaghetti Squash. We intend to plant quite a few of these because they are one of our favorites and are also a favorite of Brittan’s mother. Don’t worry, we’ll have enough for you, too.

I am a big fan of Winter Squashes. Autumn is my favorite season and that’s when most of these yummy varieties are ready.

Growing up in Kentucky (yes, I’m bragging), pumpkin pie was on the menu every Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. It is still one of my favorite pies. So we’ll be growing Sugar Pie Pumpkins. Oh yes, we will. I’m willing to concede the Jack O’ Lantern market to the super markets and roadside stands and focus on pie. Yum.

Waltham Butternut is another seasonal favorite. I can’t even imagine a fall and winter without Butternut Squash. Brittan makes pudding out of it and I could eat it every day.  As I type this update, it’s just after midnight and I could really go for some Butternut Squash pudding right now.

A couple years ago, we learned to love baked Acorn Squash. this year we will grow two varieties, Table King Bush and Table Queen, which is a traditional vining

variety.

Table King Acorn Squash

Table King Acorn Squash

Summer and Squash are practically synonyms. What’s your favorite variety? I’d love to hear about it.

Coming Attractions: Next update: Tomatoes Galore!

 

 

 

 

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