Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The chickens spent all day yesterday free-ranging. The dogs ran at them a couple of times when they were loose at lunch and after work, but once the chickens get in the brush, they stop flapping their wings, and the dogs lose interest.

Oliver and Murphy hung out all day in the barn. They settled in underneath the tractor, and only Oliver came out when I called. We kept the barn doors closed except for when the dogs were tied up to keep them from harassing the kittens. After work Steve was out throwing the Frisbee for Zeus, so I picked up Oliver and took him out to see everybody. As we walked back to the barn, Oliver leapt from my arms and landed right in front of Zeus. Oliver puffed up, and they went nose to nose. When Stacy saw him, she ran over and got right in his face as well. Oliver stood his ground – all two pounds of him! There was some hissing, and all his hair stood on end, but he didn’t take a swipe at either of them. After a few seconds, both dogs simply walked away. I said to Steve “That went better than I expected!” We decided that since Oliver was fine with the dogs, and Murphy was going to hide from everyone, there was no reason to keep them separated. We opened up the barn doors and turned everybody loose. Oliver still puffs up and dances sideways at the dogs when they run up to him, but he never runs away. I think that’s why they don’t have much interest in him – he’s no fun if they can’t chase him. This morning he even followed me out in front of the barn when I was feeding the chickens and letting them out for the day. He LOVES the grass. He scratched the grass and chased imaginary bugs in it. At this point, everyone is getting along except Murphy, and he’s just going to have to get a grip! I think Oliver is going to be a GREAT cat.