Wednesday, January 8, 2014

End of a Legend

 Bernadette aka The Barn Queen, passed away about 10:00 on Dec 27, 2013. Many of you will remember her as ruling the barn with an iron claw and demanding "MEOW".
She showed up when we built the barns and moved the goats in. Mice and warm milk (plus some cat treats) were the attraction. She spent the next 8 or so years living part time in our barn and barn time in the neighbors barn . I think she spent her nights at the neighbors, as no matter what the weather I'd see her come across the pasture at milking time in the morning. Then she'd head back across after evening snacks were finished. If the snow was too deep you could see her walking at the edge of the gravel road between our houses.
 Wendy and Bernadette were friendly advisories. Wendy really just wanted her food.
A couple of young black cats showed up at the barn in about 2009. Bernadette told them they could stay if they respected her position. They did.
 In November 2010 I noticed that Bernadette was having more trouble jumping onto the hay bales - her age was showing and there was probably some arthritis. I decided that she wouldn't make it through another winter outside. If the cold didn't get to her, she might not be able to escape the foxes. So I brought her inside and settled into the sun room of the basement. The couch became her throne. Horace and Sage, the other two house cats also accepted her as The Queen.
An interesting transformation occurred, Bernadette's demanding voice became nicer and she actually enjoyed being petted. As if to say"It's about time you let me inside".
Eventually Bernadette stopped grooming her fur, but she let me brush her. On Thursday December 19th she refused her canned food (she quit eating dry food awhile ago). She did drink the warm goat's milk I offered. That was her last meal. She lived for the next week on water.

Bernadette is buried overlooking the barn.

The neighbor says that she showed up to their place when they moved in. That was in 1990. Bernadette was at least 23 years old.

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