Posts Tagged ‘cat’

Jeff and I got back home from our bike-run (I bike, he runs) just as darkness was falling here in Rocky Ripple. I looked over in the dusk just at the right moment to see Evie execute a mid-air pounce on something. Something big. Assuming it was a bat, I picked up a stick and tossed it close to her, just enough to startle her away from the thing. This is my usual method of scaring the kids away from bats, which almost always allows the bat ample time to flutter away to their (and our) safety.

This time, however, I didn’t see anything fly away, so we approached slowly, peering intently at the spot where the creature should be. I was so thoroughly expecting to see a bat that I almost did not see the beautifully huge winged thing that was lying on its back in the grass and struggling frantically to upright itself. Beneath a shock of bright red legs and a red and white striped body as big as my thumb, were a good six inches of gorgeous black, gray, red, and white wings. We found out afterward that it was a Cecropia moth, North America’s largest native moth.

With a little effort we were able to wrangle the cats enough to give the clumsy thing a chance to get airborne. We watched as it flapped away over the neighbor’s yard, looking more like some large exotic bird than any insect we had ever seen. Evie looked on ruefully.

The wonders of Rocky Ripple never cease to amaze us!

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Normally I’m pretty impatient with my garden’s progress, but I can’t argue with these results! The root crops are coming along quite well. Even the radishes are starting to look radishy:

The raspberries are coming along nicely, and the pumpkin patch is simply flourishing.

Every day I come home from work, lug my things out of my car, and head straight to the garden to poke and prod. It’s my meditative way of unwinding after a long or stressful day.

What did I discover today? Dozens of bean seedlings, pushing through the earth just six short days after they were planted! Just yesterday I was digging little holes in the bean bed to see if any of them were germinating. Lo and behold, overnight they decided to make a surprise appearance.

Equally as exciting, the potatoes are beginning their grand climb skyward, making delicious potential potato energy as they go.

Sometimes I fuss too much over my precious plants. I’m currently paranoid that my tomatoes and sweet peppers are suffering from sharing a yard with the black walnuts. Even though they are placed 50 feet from the nearest tree trunk, and are enclosed in their own little self-watering environments, I’m convinced that they are looking “wilty” and malnourished. I am probably anxious about nothing, considering that they actually look pretty good. But a good plant mother has to find something to worry over. Besides, these things cost me $5 apiece!

Only time will tell for my delicate garden residents. After all, the best way to become a good gardener is through trial and error. I hope that in another ten days I can report back with good news about all my green endeavors.

Oh, and Evie says hi.


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Every day at work I’m subjected to some truly heart-melting moments. It’s a rough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

Once in a while one of those moments lasts long enough for me to whip out my trusty not-so-smart phone and take a photo that looks really good when it’s only 1 inch wide on the screen.

Okay, so a crappy phone takes crappy photos. But they’re still super cute:

Teresa In the Tuna Can

Biscuits by Bond


Verde is Watching You

Sometimes Things Get Dangerous

An Irresistible Face

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Some things that make these winter days worthwhile:

1. Snow Pants!

2. Magical Fruit Soup (yum.)

3. Kids So Sleepy

4. Negative Thinking

5. Fresh Reading Material

6. Finding recipe clippings stored in my Grandma’s Joy of Cooking. These almost sound worse than boiled hot dogs.

7. Colorful Graffiti

8. Sculptures by Nature

9. Pretending to take a picture of something in the foreground while someone is doing something weird in the background.

10. Flowers in February! (and realizing that I haven’t managed to kill off Florence)

11. More Sleepy Kids

12. Finding hidden trails in unexpected places…

13. Gorgeous views in the middle of the city.

14. And, of course, more sleepy kids.

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Three kids in the yard.

Having fun.

(Especially Patrick.)

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I have finally finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (review to come soon), and I’m excited to get to move on to some lighter reading. And since one good obsession deserves another, I’m moving from food and farming to…kitties!

I claimed an old paperback copy of Tailchaser’s Song that I found mainly because I was highly amused by the idea of a novel about cats. I didn’t realize I was getting myself into something so serious. Turns out Tailchaser has quite the fan club, and the novel itself is brimming with invented cat mythology, cat language, cat geography,  cat bravado, and funny cat names. It is rumored that it is being made into an animated film. It will be interesting to compare Tailchaser’s Song with Watership Down, which is the only other fictional novel I have read thus far in 2011.

I haven’t gotten into the meat of the story yet (still just starting on the introduction), but I wanted to share a poem from the very first pages of the book that I thought was clever, and indicative of all the things that cat-lovers love about cats.

This poem is written by an 18th century poet named Christopher Smart. Smart reportedly spent a substantial amount of his life in an asylum, after which he spent his last days in debtor’s prison. He wrote under names such as Kitty Smart, Mrs. Mary Midnight, and Ebenezer Pentweazle. This is his tribute to cats:

For I will consider my cat…

For at the first glance of the glory of God

            in the East he worships in his way.

For this is done by wreathing his body seven

            times around with elegant quickness…

For having done duty and received blessing

            he begins to consider himself.

For this he performs in ten degrees.

For first he looks upon his fore-paws to see

            if they are clean.

For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.

For thirdly he works it upon the stretch with

            the fore-paws extended.

For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.

For fifthly he washes himself.

For sixthly he rolls upon wash.

For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may

            not be interrupted on the beat.

For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.

For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.

For tenthly he goes in quest of food…

For when his day’s work is done his business

            more properly begins.

For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night

            against the adversary.

For he counteracts the powers of darkness by

            his electrical skin and glaring eyes.

For he counteracts the Devil, who is death,

            by brisking about the life.

For in his morning orisons he loves the sun

            and the sun loves him.

For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

For Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel


For there is nothing sweeter than his peace

            when at rest.

For there is nothing brisker than his life

            when in motion

For God has blessed him in the variety of

            his movements…

For he can tread to all the measures upon the music…

—Christopher Smart

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One of the many highlights of my day was coming home to find about half a dozen ripe tomatoes waiting to be picked from the garden. This, plus my pretty shirt I got as a belated graduation gift, made me feel like a real green thumb today.

In other news, I got to work on putting together my project to help little Betty get adopted. I put together this finished product in Photoshop last night, and even had some laminating sheets on hand to make it look all professional! This got hung on the door to the FIV+ room…

After I managed to get all her photos hung on the wall, Betty meowed her approval,

and posed for one last shot.

Good luck Betty! Someone’s gonna love you!

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My favorite part of my day today was visiting Daisy. She loves to give kisses quite liberally. She also hisses viciously at any cat who comes within a foot of us while we are cuddling. Too sweet.


I have the best job ever.

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This is my friend from work, Betty.

She’s my favorite. Staff Favorite, that is.

Betty has been at the humane society for longer than most of the other cats. She’s small and demure, quietly affectionate, and soft as a kitten’s belly. She has a hidden charm and a personality that is often overlooked by potential adopters.

Most significantly, Betty has FIV. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Much like HIV in humans, FIV suppresses the immune system in cats, making them more susceptible to the common kitty cold and other contagions that can be life-threatening to an immune-suppressed cat. Also similar to humans with HIV, cats with FIV can lead very healthy, normal lives, so long as precautionary measures are taken. An FIV+ housecat should never be allowed to go outside, where germs abound. And because FIV is transmitted most commonly through serious bite wounds and deep scratches during fighting, an FIV+ cat must get along well with any other cats in its household.

Due to the nature of the transmission of the disease, most of the FIV+ cats I’ve encountered have been unneutered, feral males. Betty is a real rarity. She is a former feral, as evidence by her left ear-tip, but she is also a female. I don’t know Betty’s history, but from what I know about her, I doubt she was ever a feisty girl. I can only surmise that little Betty contracted the disease from her mother when she was born, or that she may have been attacked long ago by an infected tom-cat.

It’s a pity. But thanks to progressive shelters, more FIV+ kitties like Betty are getting a second chance, instead of being euthanized outright.

As Betty’s brand new sponsor, it is now my pleasure to help her get adopted in any way that I can.

I started a couple of days ago by taking the only picture I had of Betty from our website, and making a mock-up sign to showcase Betty’s talents. The image is low-res, and my efforts far from complete, but this is what I have come up with as far as ideas so far:

Today, I took the time to photograph Betty. She is not the most photogenic cat, and not too fond of eye contact, but after taking about 140 photographs I came up with a few good ones. As uncooperative as she was, Betty loved the attention and purred the whole time.

Tomorrow we go shopping for a pretty collar for Betty, to showcase her femininity in a room full of boys. By Tuesday I hope to have her display completed and attracting some special attention for Betty and all her charisma.

Wish us luck.

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