The gopher population is now nearly non-existent: gophers move in, but they don't last long; the rats and mice that used to live in the old outbuildings are extinct. I can't even remember the last time I saw a rodent outside - we do occasionally get a mouse in the kitchen in the winter though.
The disadvantage of living in the country is that cats disappear in the night. It's hard for me to deal with that. They might be "just barn cats" but every one of them has a name and is loved.
We've only had outdoor cats here at Oak Hill until last winter's Christmas blizzard. Tink, Ella's great-granddaughter, was a teenager by then; she tried to shelter from the snow by hiding under a sawhorse. My husband took pity on her lack of common sense and brought her in the house "until the weather is better." It's September and Tink still lives in the house. I love having a house cat again.
Our one litter this year consisted of two orange male kittens, Tink's half-brothers. Our youngest daughter took one of the twins with her to college, and named him Collins after the town of Fort Collins, Colorado.
The other little boy kitten is now living in our house too. Hubby and I both worried about him for some reason; maybe we just felt sorry for him because he was alone; maybe we just miss our daughter and needed something to "baby". We've named him Colby.
Colby is still getting used to being in the completely different environment of the house, and getting acquainted with the large housedogs, but he is doing well and is growing like a weed. I set him on the bed for this photo, but he still sleeps under the bed, under the dresser, behind the dryer; Tink sleeps ON the bed, ON the couch, and ON the table in front of the window. I'm sure he'll join her eventually.
Maybe we won't have any mice in the house this winter?