Many of you are familiar with our barn cat, Bubby. Some of you met him during tours of the farm. Some saw him on the television show. And a lot of you read about him in The Bucolic Plague.   We’re not exactly sure how Bubby came to the Beekman, or how he got his name, or even how old he was…he was part of the farm years before we arrived. But luckily for us, when we purchased the farm, he decided to stay on and teach us the ropes.

We’re very sorry to let you know that Bubby passed away recently. He’d been growing thinner over the past year, and had stopped eating, but was mousing right up to the end. He caught his final mouse only two weeks before his death. He died with us and Farmer John at his side, and we will bury him come spring by the garden wall, which was his favorite place to perch and scan the horizon for his next victim.

As lucky as we were to have Bubby in our lives, Bubby was also fortunate to have found Beekman 1802 Farm. Many rural cats don’t lead lives as equally charmed as Bubby did. If you have feel moved by Bubby’s story, please consider donating to the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley, a no kill shelter that takes in many many barn cats who need better care.

Below are some pictures of him, and the excerpt that introduces him in The Bucolic Plague.   RIP Bubby. Thanks for making us part of your Beekman:

 

From the Bucolic Plague:

“My next three days were consumed with the alchemy of turning my 600 square foot neglected pasture into an oasis of silken chocolate earth. I arose at the first HERE COMES THE BRIDE and brought my morning cup of coffee out to the “garden” where the tiller waited for me, coated in dew. I’d come to learn its most intimate secrets – from the barely audible squeaking when one of the tines needed readjustment to the complaining flatulence when the gas tank ran low.

Brent came to check on me occasionally, but he’d been with me long enough to know that when I become obsessed with a task, it’s best to stay out of my way. Especially if I’m wielding a piece of heavy machinery outfitted with rotating claws.

My only real company was Bubby the Barn Cat. Bubby sat on the fencepost by the garden-in-progress and watched me toil through most of the day. Occasionally he jumped down to glide between my feet as I tilled my rows, defying the spinning tines of death in an effort to get me to pick him up and carry him on my shoulder.

Bubby was another of the animals we’d inherited with the farm. Most of the barn cats I’d known in my youth subscribed to the “good mousers should be neither seen nor heard” philosophy. Perhaps having escaped the weighted-burlap-bag-tossed-in-cow-pond fate of most barn kittens, they felt it best not to tempt further human contact.

But Bubby was different. When hewas introduced to us by the previous caretaker’s wife, she’d explained that from the day he mysteriously showed up at the Beekman he’d always been the #1 mouser at the farm. His large size attested to his skills. Back then he wasn’t any friendlier than most barn cats, she told us, but he was the best at his job. He didn’t tolerate anything smaller than a foot long within a 100-yard vicinity of the barn. He was known to sit high in the hayloft door, watching for approaching intruders in the surrounding fields. Within a split second, he’d run down the hay conveyor belt, leap onto the split rail fence, and race down the pasture, reaching his victim before it even knew it was in a war zone. We were pretty sure it was Bubby’s remarkably bright, goldenrod yellow eyes that gave him his super-feline x-ray vision.

Then one evening a few years ago Bubby was struck by a car on the road in front of the house. He survived till morning. The caretaker and his wife spotted him at sunrise dragging himself towards the barn on his front paws. Even with his back legs mangled, Bubby was not going to miss a day of work. They called the Seltzar’s, the Beekman’s previous owners, who instructed them to bring their chief mouser to the vet, and to spare no expense in his treatment and recovery.

Which is how Bubby wound up being perhaps the only barn cat in the world with his hip held together with an intricate patchwork of titanium rods. His nickname was “Bionic Bubby.”

And, as if he knew how fortunate he was, he also returned home from the animal hospital as the world’s most grateful and loving barn cat.

By the time the sun had reached its highest point in the sky on Memorial Day I’d spent three full days working the rough patch of dirt. It probably wasn’t ready for a Martha Stewart Living photo spread yet, but at least I had workable dirt, that could sustain life

“What do you think, Bubs?”

Bubby, perched on my shoulder, carefully surveyed the new garden with me, making sure that I hadn’t unearthed anything mammalian. Along the side of the garden, I’d made one pile for the rocks I raked through, and another pile of all the bones. The bone pile was easily three times as large. I picked up a shovel and scooped them into the wheelbarrow, filling it almost to the point of overflowing. I wheeled it through a broken section of the split rail fence and halfway up the eastern pasture. When I reached a spot 50 yards or so from the garden, I tilted the wheelbarrow sideways, letting the various bones slide out into the deep weeds.

I didn’t know if there was an appropriate catch-all, re-burial service for two hundred years worth of mixed remains of Native Americans, slaves, childhood victims of Scarlet Fever/Consumption/Measles/etc, cows, chickens and horses. But as I took my hands and spread the bone pile more evenly across the springtime pasture I hoped that the past spirits took some solace in my efforts to revive, even on a small scale, a part of what they contributed their lives to years ago.

Now we were a real farm.”

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  • By: Gale Summers

    I am so sorry to hear about Bubby. It is hard to lose any animal, but one that loves you, that you love back, and is an integral part of your family it just plains hurts. Hopefully another fine feline will waltz into your lives, your yard, and your hearts.

  • By: Barb Vernot

    Cats are special people. Since I moved to CA we went from two to five. Every stray cat in the neighbourhood knows they can come here and get a good meal. All they have to do is come in and eat. Most of them sleep under the house, but we do have 2 of our own. Madame Mollie and Chance who came from Maryland with me. One of the others has decided he wants to live inside too now so he does. The other just come in to eat and then visit for a while and leave.
    I am sorry about Bubby. They do leave a stamp on your heart.
    barb

  • By: Joanne Marie

    So sorry to hear about Bubby passing away. He had gorgeous eyes. Thanks for taking good care of him.

  • By: Anita

    So sorry to hear of your precious Bubby’s passing. He was beautiful. Sure he will be missed so much. But he suffers no more.
    Love u guys. Your books are great. Loved your TV show but is not on here anymore. Plan to subscribe to your magazine also.
    Keep up the good work.

  • By: Connie W.

    Rest in peace, Bubby, you precious soul. You were faithful, dutiful, and loving, and I know that all who knew you will remember you. I’m glad your last years with Josh, Brent, Farmer John, the goats, and Polka Spot were the best any barn cat could ever hope for. Spirit-kisses/hugs to you.

  • By: Susan

    I’m new to the site so am just reading this. Thank you for caring for Bubby. His eyes were amazing and so was he. RIP sweet boy. 💚🐾

  • By: Maureen

    What a beautiful story.There is something special about a cat that you don’t understand or get until you’ve been owned by a few. Only when they are gone do you realize exactly what they have done to your heart.

  • By: centralia Heart

    So sorry for your loss of Bubby, I know how it hurts. Our Emily-Rose just turned 15 and we are hoping for another 5 years of her company. We cared for a barn cat down the road from our mini farm. Fluffernutter lived in the barn for years. We brought him good food daily, but one evening we got a call from another firefighter who found Fluffernutter dead in the road. He buried Fluffernutter on his land because he ground wasn’t frozen. Next a beautiful, large calico showed up at the barn. This time I hung signs all over our hamlet. I got many calls and her pet parent finally found her and took her home. The barn is now empty of cats, but it is now kitten season, so more may arrive. Our four cats are indoors because of the coyotes here.

  • By: Susan

    Old man … We have a couple too… Our youngest mouser is 3 years and he takes out the rabbits and even chases the red fox in the area … Sorry to hear of your loss.Beautiful eyes

  • By: kristinahughes

    Love your story! So well written.
    Amazing in the COUNTRY cats get hit!
    Another reason to keep them inside when you can.
    Those 9 Lives only go so far.
    Seems like a free spirit and one who was for sure grateful for all your LOVE.
    If you are lucky he’ll direct you to Mouser #2!

  • By: MichaelandBrian

    That breaks my heart. My partner and I are both big cat people! We have two special kitties at their house..because it is their house and not ours! So sorry for you both! We hope to see you guys this weekend at the Birmingham Home and Garden Show here in Birmingham, AL. We have missed you everytime you are close to our area. You had just been in New Orleans at Anthropologie the weekend before we got there on a Monday. We are both big fans of your show and your books. The Bucolic Plague is a masterpiece. We loved it sooo much we actually read it to each other as kind of a night time storybook! You guys are fabulous! Welcome to Birmingham. My partner and I are having a wedding ceremony on Sunday and seeing you on Saturday. This is the perfect weekend!

    Michael and Brian!

  • By: Anne Cistoldi

    Just made a donation to the animal shelter in Schoharie Valley in Bubby’s memory. Thanks for the opportunity to memorialize your dear friend….

  • By: Bill

    Very sorry to hear about Bubby. The loss of a pet, or more importantly, a member of a farm family is never easy.

    You’ll always have the memories of how happy he was to live on the farm and the joy he brought to your lives.

    Bill, Michele and Madison

  • By: Lana

    I’ll be honest, I could of lived the rest of my life without having the mental picture of kittens being tossed in a pond…but I am happy that Mr. Bubby had a much different outcome and was loved and cared for, right down to the end of his life.

  • By: Dawn p

    What a beautiful cat! I am so sorry for your loss; it is never easy to lose something that you love. It has been awhile but I hope to visit your lovely town & enchanting shop again very soon. Please take care, Dawn

  • By: Veronica Roth

    I’m sorry for your loss. We lost Theo last fall. He found us four years before and just refused to leave. He was also a mouser, and a semi-feral warm hearted love. In our lives of his and her’s homes and countries, he was the one thing we really shared. Big hugs.

  • By: Joan Snyder

    I so love your website, your stories, your shop in Sharon Springs. Thank you for pleasant and happy things to try and look forward to. Bubby was a keeper, definitely had personality.

  • By: Beth

    Heaven received another beautiful soul… He may be gone, but will never be forgotten!

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