Connecting Kids to Wildlife by Touching & Learning
It is a never ending of busy-ness in our lives. The pandemic has me working from home which is challenging with a vocal bird and a mother that needs my help. I’m not complaining too much because I am getting paid. However, although I’m an introvert, I do miss my co-workers and museum visitors. In addition, I don’t have the proper computer setup. Either I’m at the kitchen table which is too high and my shoulder hurts or at my antique desk with no leg room and my elbow and wrist hurts. I know, a small price to pay to work at home. I do venture out once a week to the grocery and convenience stores for the necessities. I’m always mindful about being asthmatic and mom being 82 years old with COPD.
On April 15th, I took in a rescued stray from another area as a foster. Sammy is a Russian blue with such personality! Well, the foster turned into an adoption. So, now we have 6 domestic cats.
In Mid-May, I helped a cat foster parent put a new cover over their kennel. Max had leftover wire from his large enclosure and wood too. The girls are fostering a mama cat and her babies. What better way to give back than to give them a new wire roof?
So, what’s going on with Max? He turned 9 years old on May 4th (no photos, only a video) and he now has a loft under his pole barn. Yes, you must visit our YouTube Channel Wildlife Bernie to watch the videos! Here are a few photos.
Well, 2019 was a heartbreaking and busy year for us. We lost two cats, Teddy in March who had a stomach mass and Spooky in September who we believe had cancer. Both were about 12 years old, obtained the same year (they were dumped) and both had the same eye removed due to health reasons over the years that we had them. They had to have been brothers but different litters and found their way to our house needing to be neutered, of course. Both were between 6 months and a year old.
My sister got married May 11th after 10 years of being together but then he had a stroke and died June 7th. She is still struggling.
And then I lost Willow Ferret in November. She just stopped eating, became lethargic and the vet said she had a heart condition. She was a bit over 4 years old. I have yet to own a Marshall-bred ferret live to 6 years old. I believe they are inbred. December 8th I rescued two adorable little ferrets but they are middle to late in age. Frankie is 3 and Frannie is 2 but I will love them like crazy in the little time that I’ll have them.
Poppy rabbit got a new hutch. Oh boy, that was a chore to put together but it gives her a chance to be on grass and out in fresh air. She loves it. Max loves it too as he can watch her from his enclosure. Enrichment! I have to move the hutch every couple weeks to give her fresh grass.
Lots of improvements were made to Max’s enclosure. I took down the wire roofing which was right under the barn roof. I had to attach it to the sides of the barn beams from the sides of the panels, so the little devil could not leap over the fencing. I never finished two sections but he hasn’t noticed.
May I installed bamboo fencing to give one end a cozy feeling. Of course I had to add Plexiglas behind it to protect the metal panels from rusting when he marks his territory. So, not a cheap improvement. I found a fake boulder online and purchased it. Max loves to hide behind it as if I can’t see him!
In June I created a corner cubby for the boy. It was not fun because the fencing had been delivered in the rain and got warped in their boxes but I managed. I finally got around to painting the shelving and bottom pallet in September.
In November, I hauled a dead tree into the enclosure and balanced a portion of it on the fake boulder. Now, Max loves the big old scratching post! I also built him an elevated walkway for days in the winter when it floods or gets icy. On the ramp, I had to add wooden rungs for Max to steady himself. I haven’t had a chance to post a video of him on YouTube using it but it’s on my to-do list. It took me days to get the posts in and then the shelving all before the snow and frost showed up!
I dialed it down with programs during the year. I presented five and Max was in four of them.
2020, I plan having a loft built under the pole barn on one side. Good friends Christine, Evan & Vinnie the cat have helped financially. I’m not sure when it will be completed but the contractor is good, reliable and says he will get it done.
If it seems I’m posting less and less here is because I am! Life has become hectic which leaves little free time.
2018 – My mother’s health is slowly declining. It’s not critical but I have found she has less energy and her breathing has gotten worse. She turned 80 and has COPD and has a knee issue she refuses to take care of with surgery. I don’t fault her for that because once you get the surgery, you can’t kneel and the recovery can be lengthy. She likes to stay active, as much as possible. We lost two of our beloved cats. We tried everything to keep them healthy but old age took them and we had them put to sleep in July and October. My exotics remained all okay. Improvements were made on Max’s enclosure. In April I put together a cool bench which converts into a table.
In November, I hired a contractor and he put in a pole barn over a portion of Max’s enclosure. Boy, it was not cheap but it looks great and we can sit on our bench without getting wet. It also gives Max a place to be without snow but still out in the area run. You might notice that I also put a pallet in there for him earlier in the summer.
We presented 12 programs in 2018…libraries, youth programs, senior center, and outdoor events. Max Lynx participated in 11 of those programs!
Here it is March and Max has begun the shedding of his luscious 4 inch+ winter fur. We have snow on the ground and the temps are lower than normal but at least the sun was shining today. Max rolled in the snow, rubbed his face over my boots and enjoyed some scratching. I noticed tracks coming and going from his enclosure. One set looked like a cat and they just disappeared behind the garage next to his cage. Wow!
We got about 5 inches of heavy snow on March 2 which damaged Max’s new run’s roofing. Mind you I knew there was a possibility that snow might not fall through the chicken wire but the welded wire was too heavy to install completely over the top. I had to go inside & brush broom the weight off the wire. I ended up with tons of snow on me. Subsequently, the snow damaged six of the connectors which will need to be replaced this summer. I’m contemplating a different set up but have already spent more money than I initially intended with this project. Last year we didn’t get the heavy snow, so no issues.
Today I was investigating the structure of his caging when he got in my face. Love this photo of him.