Friday, 14 July 2017

Kato goes A.W.O.L.

There's a pain in my left ear, Daddy.... Make it go away. Off to the
vet's with #1 Son, 'Towser'. Not happy. 
Off to the vets for #1 Son, 'Towser' this week, when he starts to show a lot of discomfort round his left ear. He seems to do this as an annual thing, so we are ready for him and know exactly what to do. Maybe he likes that 'pub regular' thing of being able to stroll into the vet's and ask for "The Usual, Mr Vet". His problem is a good old heady brew of ear infection going which gunges up his ear canal with nasty, dark brown waxy muck which sets hard and dry around the hair in his ear. He then spends all day shaking his head to flap his ears and try to clear it, or walking around rubbing the left side of his head on the furniture and door frames. Very sorry for himself.

Fancy 4-solution ear gel.
Unable to get him to the vet straight away, I tried a trick that used to work on my own ears which gummed up in my youth (well, younger than now anyway!) to the point of needing syringing, that being olive oil. I thought it would at least soften the 'muck' so I could wipe it out with tissues and I had also heard somewhere that if ear-mites are the problem, the oil 'drowns' them.  Turns out olive oil is NOT a good idea.

A goodly haul for our first pick over the strawberries.
Off to the vets then where our man has a good old look down in there and a wipe around as well as giving Towser a small pain-killer jab and an anti-inflammatory one. He also gives me a tube of ear-gel which he rates highly as it solves all 4 common problems at once - it is anti-parasite, "anti-infective" (?), anti-fungal and anti inflammatory. It is NOT an antibiotic as the vet explained, they are really cutting down on antibiotics now. If this gel has not solved the problem by Monday I must bring Towser back for an antibiotic jab but we don't anticipate that being necessary. "I wouldn't," he says, "put anything oily down a dog's ear as a rule". That's me told.

'We' also do not think we need the anti-parasite aspect as this is not ear-mites, just a heady brew of yeast, fungi and possibly bacteria. Anyway, the lad is on the mend now. The angry pink is gone from his ear, as well as most of the dark brown gick and he doesn't mind so much me dribbling stuff down there, folding his ear 'closed' and massaging the 'bulb' part. He just has to put up with the left side of his face being greasy looking where the stuff smears out onto his white fur, till we run out of gel and can shampoo his head back to Westie perfection.

We had no sensible jars for the strawberry
jam so here is a 2 litre 'bulk-pack. 
But my header says Kato was the one causing problems this week, so what is THAT all about? The pair of marmalade 'kittens' are by now a year old and while the female (Chivers) loves to hang around the house and be with her 'Mum', the boy (Kato) is getting a bit more adventurous. Friends of the Blog will know that on my daily dog-walk down to the bridge, I am sometimes accompanied by the full-grown black and white cat, Soldier, whom I have got used to having along and who is 100% sensible around traffic, quickly diving off the tarmac into the verge when a vehicle comes and staying there till he sees me come back onto the lane with the three dogs.

The cutter heads of my shears come back from the sharpener
with a good keen edge. 
Not so Kato, who seems to be a complete ditz and whom, if he tries to follow me down the drive, I will quickly text Liz to come and wrangle him to safety while the dogs and I get out of sight.

Deep-clean of the chicken house
That plan failed yesterday when I'd got a good half mile down the lane before a loud 'Miaow!' behind me alerted me to the fact that Kato had decided to chase us and had caught up. Ah well, too far 'gone' here to expect Liz to come rescue him, I foolishly decided to give him a try and walked gently on making sure he kept up. There were no cars about so I thought we could cope. I texted Liz to put her on alert.

The authentic lime-wash "slappy" brush
No sooner had I done that than a tractor with mower came round the corner. Kato froze. I flagged down the tractor and made to grab the cat but the cat fled, sprinting along the lane. The tractor driver gave me that "What yer gonna do?" look and moved off slowly, "following" the cat. I watched them go out of sight round the next bend with Kato still sprinting down the tarmac and the tractor carefully following. Every time the cat paused, the tractor man stopped too and tried to inch by but Kato wasn't having any of that and ran on again. That was the last I saw of him (at that stage).

Lime-washing the old stone work. 
Liz then appeared in the car (and in her PJs!) having seen the tractor pass the house safely by but no sign of Kato. I walked the dogs home and was clinging to the fact that no news (no splatted body and no sad marmalade shape in the grass verge) was good news. We then had that awful anxious wait that most cat-owners will know, re-tracing our walk/drive, calling, whistling, praying for Kato to be OK and to come home right as rain. Surely he's just strayed off the lane or gone to hide up, upset, in an abandoned building or barn somewhere. Well, to cut a long story short, he kept us on tenterhooks from midday-ish, right round to just gone 10 pm. I had gone to bed but Liz was still up and stepped into the Kitchen Garden for another hopeful look and spotted him sprinting up the drive, not a care in the world and a relaxed, unworried "Hi, Mum! I'm home!" look on his face.

Well be-spattered with lime wash
Other than that, not a lot of excitement. We have had, as you can see from the pictures, a really good harvest of strawberries for a first pick. These plants are protected behind a chicken-wire cage and I had just been checking the few fruit you can see near the 'fence'. I thought we had a couple weeks more to wait. Then I looked down in from the top and all I could see was red down in below the leaf canopy. We lifted the cage and started picking, quickly filling the tiddly, pessimistic punnets we had started with. In short order we had gathered  nearly 2.9 kg or gorgeous, ripe fruit. This is way more than we can use up 'fresh' so we had to re-think our 'no more jam' policy and go buy some sugar.

You don't want your best clothes on for
this job.
Then today we got stuck into the deep-clean long overdue on the old stone out-building we use as a chicken/goose house. In theory we are waiting till #3 broody goose finishes and abandons the nest but in practise we have become impatient and have started on the non-goose end. We are shoveling out barrow loads of old bedding and poo, giving the internal stonework a good brush down and removing all the old tired chicken wire (no longer fit for purpose and gathering cobwebs to a Gothic degree).

Finally we are going to lime-wash all that algae-encrusted, dusty masonry back to a clean, anti-bacterial, anti-insect white as only lime-wash will allow.

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