Can cats and chickens become friends?

We recently acquired four hens.

hens trees

hens napping

They are lovely creatures, making cute clucking sounds and pottering about the garden, they love nothing more than to dig, eat, lay eggs, follow us around and, oh yes, hang out with our cat Kimi.

kimi hen 2

Now, we have several other cats, who live in a separate enclosed garden well away from our nearly flightless fowl, and we would never allow them near  these vulnerable birds. But Kimi? Well, she is different. Everyone likes Kimi.

Kimi is unique. She loves other creatures, especially other cats – except for Katya.

 

katya table

They have a pact. ‘I don’t bother you, you don’t bother me and we’ll get on just fine.’

We were tentatively sure that Kimi would be okay with the hens. She had a stroke a couple of years ago and still can’t get around all that well. She is also deaf and at thirteen, is getting a little bit old, so we didn’t envisage her pouncing on our birds.

kimi

 

What we didn’t expect was how the chickens reacted to her.

kimi hen 7   kimi hen 4

kimi hen 5

As you can see, they seem quite smitten.

I guess the answer to my question is, yes, cats and chickens can get along. It all depends on the cat.

kimi trixie

Would you give up a portion of your garden to wildlife?

I live in the countryside surrounded by fields and am fortunate to have an acre of land. Despite having a main road at the front, lots of wildlife live in my garden. The reason? I have left many areas to grow naturally and hopefully, given a safe haven to many species that are on the brink of extinction.

blue dragonfly b

Yes, there are brambles everywhere, but also beautiful wild flowers that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, which in turn attracts, bats, hedgehogs, snakes, toads and other less cute animals such as rats. But hey, they’re just as adorable in their own way.

With Bees - garden

poppies tall

IMG_4829

buzzy bumble

So I wonder if anyone else has decided to let a part of their garden, or yard, for my American friends, go back to nature and let the ‘weeds’ flourish? I would love to hear from those who have.

My Sci-fi/Dystopian series – The Song of Forgetfulness – is to a certain extent an homage to Mother Nature and a condemnation of mankind’s disregard for the delicate balance of the environment. I didn’t intend to make it an eco-warrior rant, but as I researched global warming, deforestation and the like, I became angry and deeply upset, so how could I not vent my feelings of despair and try to get a message across – please save our beautiful planet Earth before it’s too late.

I will be releasing a prequel to the series – The Chronicles of Mayer – in the next few weeks so watch out for another post!

The Chronicles of Mayer:

A story of survival and courage in a devastated world.

Adara needs to know more about her past if she, and everyone else, is to have a future. The Moocow Monks of Mayer have the answers. Inside their subterranean archive, as Adara sits and watches the history of NotSoGreatBritAlbion unfold before her eyes, she learns disturbing truths hidden for centuries, in – The Chronicles of Mayer.

The catastrophic flood of 2158 wipes out most of the population of Great Britain and destroys Mahabharata House, a Buddhist community. The only two surviving cow herds, Gopi Jnanamaya Kosha (Mayer) and Gopala Arjuna Bhutapanchaka, are forced to flee, taking the cows with them. With water levels rising at an alarming rate, they move the sacred herd to the highlands of Scotland.

Mayer_crop25.07

You can find all of the books in The Song of Forgetfulness series here:

Author.to/BooksonAmazon

 

Want to Come to a Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party? Then Read On – Meet the author – Nicola McDonagh

Prior to the Facebook Extravaganza – Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party I am spotlighting each author taking part. Today, the day of the event, I am spotlighting – Myself!

In June, my publishers closed down and I gained the publishing rights to my YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi series The Song of Forgetfulness. So I self-published the books with an addition of a Prequel, Whisper Gatherers.

So, this is me:

me and storm b&W

Nicola McDonagh is an author, creative writing tutor, and photographer. She lives in Suffolk, UK, with her musician husband and a plethora of rescued/feral cats. She came to writing prose late in life and is trying to make up any lost time by dabbling in more than one genre.

Nicola won the Suffolk Book League’s Short Story Competition 2011 with her story, ‘Glimmer’. The anthology of short stories – Glimmer and other stories was given a Certificate of Excellence by All Authors Publications and Promotions in June 2015.

Nicola was short-listed for the Escalator Genre Fiction Competition 2012 with an extract from Echoes from the Lost Ones; book 2 in her YA dystopian/sci-fi series, The Song of Forgetfulness.

You can contact Nicola and learn more about her work below:

 Email:                          nikki@nicolamcdonagh.com

 Author Website:      http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/

Book series site:     http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/

 Facebook:                https://www.facebook.com/thesongofforgetfulness?ref=hl

Blog Page:               https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/

Twitter:                      @McDonaghNikki https://twitter.com/McDonaghNikki

Re-Launch of The Song of Forgetfulness-Dystopian/Sci-fi Series  

“A story of trust and faith…it is an adventure that takes you to a time and place like no other.”

“A brilliant and unique read for adults and young adults alike…reminded me of Patrick Ness’ Walking Chaos Trilogy.”

                    sof covers

http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com

 The struggle to survive just got harder.

In a land disfigured by famine and disease, fear spreads throughout the scattered population of NotSoGreatBritAlbian when the Agro Empire cuts food supplies and kidnaps special children – The Meeks. But there is hope. Adara, with her secret power.

 I’m Adara. I’ve got six fingers on each hand, and a secret I cannot share.

There is a rustling in the wind. Lights beyond the boundary fence.

A sign of Agro threat.

A murmur haunts Cityplace.

Something is coming.

 Shock-faced moon

“The moon shone bright. A shock-faced ball in the black sky that looked down on the three of us as if to shout, “Prevail. Stand steady.” The wind whipped around our feet and legs, and a swirl of ash and dry earth spiralled up before us. I coughed and spat out the filthy soil that bore the taste of Agro boot.”

Synopsis of The Song of Forgetfulness:

The Song of Forgetfulness is an unsettling and mysterious vision of the future where animals are almost extinct, humans are subjugated by the sinister and secretive Agros, and gifted children know as Meeks, are going missing.

After her brother is snatched and her Santy is injured during a ruthless raid on Cityplace, Adara embarks on a dangerous quest to find Deogol. But her journey through the ravaged terrain of NotSoGreatBritAlbion is fraught with danger when her search is jeopardised by lustful Woodsmales, savage Wolfies, and sinister monks in the Monastery in the Clouds.

Yet Adara finds friends and allies who help her to realise her true potential as a Bringer and deadly weapon. When she encounters powers greater than hers, Adara must use all her courage and skill to battle against evil forces to save herself and those she loves from being slaughtered by Agro spies.

As filthy battles ensue and loved ones perish, Adara must sing The Song of Forgetfulness one last time if she is to save not only the Meeks, but all the folk of NotSoGreatBritAlbion, from a life of slavery and despair.

There is hope. The Meeks have a hidden weapon that only Adara can unlock. Outside the Agro headquarters, folk are gathering. A legion of Woodsfolk, Clonies, S.A.N.T.S, Holy ones and Ladies, are on their way.

There’s just one problem Adara’s bro – Deogol.

You can purchase your copies of the books in The Song of Forgetfulness series on Amazon.

From 18th July to 25th July, all three books will be on sale for $ 0.99 and £ 0.99 What a Bargain!

Plus! there is a short story Changeling Fog Free to Download when you purchase a copy of Whisper Gatherers.

author banner for FB event

http://amzn.to/1GSFkQQ

I hope you found my books interesting.

Don’t forget – join the other authors and me Today – 18th July for – Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party

Facebook  book banner

https://www.facebook.com/events/577034945770324/

 

Shakespeare Goes Punk – Meet the Author

Prior to the Facebook Extravaganza – Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party.

I am spotlighting the authors taking part. And now it is time to say hello to Jeffrey Cook again, but this time he has joined up with other authors to create a wonderfully diverse short story collection all in aid of an animal and wildlife rescue centre.

So why not buy a copy and help our fellow creatures to have a better life.

Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk is a charity anthology.

Shakespeare Punk

 

Airships and sky pirates! Brain Modification chips! Technologically enhanced nymphs! Shakespeare goes punk in this first volume of stories from Writerpunk Press (www.punkwriters.com). Profits to go to PAWS Lynwood (www.paws.org), an animal shelter and wildlife rescue.

Ask a bunch of eclectic writers to write stories inspired by one of the greatest dramatists of all time. Cast the stories in various punk genres: Cyber, Tesla, Diesel, Steam, Clock. Result: an innovative collection of stories inspired by the Bard, with a twist! Punk stories show the path not taken or the path that shouldn’t be taken. Let us reshape your world.

You can purchase this book here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UIL0YP2

Writerpunk Press links:

www.punkwriters.com

@punkwriters

For this YA fantasy novel, Jeffrey has teamed up with Katherine Perkins.

Foul is Fair (Book I in the Fair Folk Chronicles) is a Young Adult contemporary fantasy novel.

FoulisFair

 

Lots of girls play Fairy Princess when they’re little. Megan O’Reilly had no idea the real thing was like playing chess, guitar, and hockey all at once.

Megan had known for a long time that she wasn’t an entirely typical girl. But living with ADHD—and her mother’s obsessions—was a very different thing from finding out she wasn’t entirely human. Somewhere out there, in a completely different world, her father needs help. There’s a conflict, revolving around Faerie seasonal rituals, that could have consequences for humanity—and if Megan’s getting the terminology straight, it sounds like her family aren’t even supposed to be the good guys. As she’s further and further swept up in trying to save her father, Megan may be getting too good at not being human.

You can purchase this book here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XDPIA7O/

Don’t forget – join Jeffrey and me on 18th July Fantasy Sci-Fi Dystopian Steampunk Bargain Books Party

Facebook  book banner

Just go to this link to download Free short Stories and watch book trailers:

https://www.facebook.com/events/577034945770324/

Life Imitating Art

I have just read an article in the Guardian newspaper entitled – Have we lost half the world’s animals?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-29458930

sarcophage-4

This interested me because of the YA dystopian novels I have published. In this futuristic scenario, animals and fish and amphibians are just a memory, or an entry in a history book. Gone due to mankind’s abuse of the planet earth. When I wrote the books, I researched the possibility of mass extinction on a global level and was seriously shocked by some of the data I discovered. When I did my initial research a couple of years ago, I came across statistics saying that over 30% of animal life, including amphibians, reptiles and birds had declined. At the time I thought it was awful but now a new survey carried out by the WWF and highlighted by the Living Planet Report, suggests that the percentage is more like 52% and has been since 1970. You can read the full report here:

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/

I remember during a reading of my book one person suggested that my somewhat depressing idea that only insects and a handful of birds and wild dogs exist in the future, was nonsense. If only I’d had this report to hand. I would have quoted this extract from it, ‘Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems, which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril.’

pony  IMG_4829  IMG_4325

Instead I said that I had done research, and figures suggest that my bleak outlook on the future of animal life on this planet is based on factual reports that I have intentionally exaggerated for the purpose of my narrative. In the light of this report, it would seem that my vision of the future might be right after all.

rasky eye

I urge everyone to take note of this appalling figure and do whatever you can to stop my vision of a world without animals coming true, by supporting the WWF and spreading the word. We must learn to realize that human and animal life must live in harmony if we are all to continue to exist on this beautiful planet.

Nature conservation and sustainable development go hand-in-hand. They are not only about preserving biodiversity and wild places, but just as much about safeguarding the future of humanity – our well-being, economy, food security and social stability – indeed, our very survival.’ (Quote from the Living Planet Report 2014)

hawk   crocus   boris on grass

For further information on WWF please go to this link: http://wwf.panda.org/

If you are interested in reading by books, here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness-ebook/dp/B00CXSZIGS/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408436005&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Heard-Song-Forgetfulness-Book-ebook/dp/B00JMPWRX2/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=16567ZZQKBJ2G2VWY2J8

Haikus for Boris the Feral Cat – in honour of National Black Cat Day

boris up closishSince it is National Black Cat Day, I thought that I would re-blog this post relating the story of a plucky feral cat we named Boris. He has overcome so much and is now a loving and talkative feline that loves to play and be cuddled.

boris-2 copy

About a year ago a black feral tomcat came into our garden and decided to stay. He would come and go and catch the rats that plagued us. So, to thank him we began to give him some food. Winter came along and he shivered in the cold. We built him a kennel and he kept as warm as he could. Gradually over the months he became quite friendly and allowed us to pet him. One day he didn’t turn up. Not that unusual, especially in the warmer months, he would go off for a few days at a time, return famished and sleep for a while before going away again. This time he was missing for a week. Then we saw him squatting by the place we fed him. He stood and limped over to us. He had been in a terrible accident. His back legs were badly injured, one was very swollen and his tail had been stripped of all its fur.


            IMG_2899      boris-4 copy  IMG_2897

He was thin and clearly in a lot of pain. We nursed him as best we could and gradually he recovered. During the course of his recovery, he became the most loving and affectionate cat I have ever known. Now, Boris, as we called him, is our shadow and follows us everywhere when we go outside. He is so adorable and very talkative. He loves to be cuddled and plays with various toys our other cats have long forgotten about. He will never be able to join us indoors, because we have several other felines that would object strongly, but he is welcome to be our outside cat and we will continue to make sure he is warm and well fed. To celebrate his return to health, I decided to do some slow synch flash photographs of Boris at play, and write some Haikus to go along with the pictures. I have fiddled with the photographs to try and make them look more like paintings or pastel art works.

So, here’s to Boris. One hell of a cat!! Boris blue

From out of the blue

Whiskers and claws, swipe at the

Mouse unused to play

Boris jumping

Feral leaves, feral

Cat, both fall and tumble in

Autumn’s blustering

Boris eyes Beyond the greyness

Red. A slash of hue amidst

The colourless day

Boris wooly bully

They become circle

For one brief moment and then

Split like a seedpod

Boris times two

He wanders solo

Shrugging off the shoulder ghost

His Doppelganger

Boris most of him

Half in the picture

Long white nails scratch at the air

Summer leaves behind  

Happy National Black Cat Day to Boris and all the other black cats in the world!!

boris handsome   boris narrow eyes  Boris beautiful

Nettle Soup and Bugs

I was picking nettles this morning to make some soup – it will be the last time this year as they are going to seed and dying off – when I spotted a rather lovely bug. Well, I had to take a picture of it, and then I saw a few more interesting things to photograph – so I did.

 

purple bug

 

buggle

 

 

spiral flower

 

white flower and bee

 

You can see more of my photographs and stuff on my new website: http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/