Monday, April 20, 2015

Let's hear it for puppy pads...

Today is Monday, April 20th.  Sassy has been using the box with the puppy pad religiously since Friday and last night for the first time in several weeks, she spent the night out.  Carl said she pooped in the box before he went to bed but we had planned to leave her out.  So, this morning, I pulled the litter box out of the cabinet in the laundry room and put the box with the puppy pad in.  A half an hour later, she had used the litter box in the cabinet.  We do leave the door to the cabinet open.  We'll do that for a few weeks assuming she keeps using the box with the pad.  Then we will try with the box closed.  We do change the pad immediately after we notice she's used it. 

Sadie is on one pill every three days on her way to being weaned off of them.  This morning we had a cat spat in the family room.  I'm not sure who started it but Sadie ended up back up upstairs and Sassy stayed in the family room.  While we worry about their interaction, they need to work it out themselves.  We will break it up if it gets vicious, but for now we're just watching.  That's the update for now.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 17, 2015

An idea forms...

As you know, Sassy has been on lockup at night for several weeks.  Carl scoops her up when he goes to bed and locks her in the laundry room.  She can't come out until she poops.  She's good with this.  She's in and out of the laundry room all day proving that the room doesn't bother her.  The last week, however, she's been pooping in the litter box and peeing on the floor.  Not every night but several times.  Frustrating.  Tuesday night I had a dream about litter boxes (I know, right?).  I dreamed that we put a puppy training pad in the bottom of one of the litter boxes and Sassy loved it.   So, we thoroughly cleaned a box (it isn't like we don't have a bunch of them), put a large puppy pad in it and locked her up with her regular box and the new one with the puppy pad.  She used the box with the puppy pad, both poop and pee.  Not a great leap forward, but encouraging.  If she uses it during the day we might have reason to celebrate.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

From this window, April 9th, 2015

First let's update Sassy and Sadie.  Sassy hasn't had an accident since we let her stay out of the laundry room all night - that was three nights ago.  Although she doesn't always use the same box, she has been using the box.  We aren't holding our breath but three days with no clean up is refreshing.  Sadie has learned to climb to the top of the cat tree.  First time.  Sassy lays on the first level once in a while but hasn't liked the top yet.  Sadie watched the young men clean our pond yesterday from the top of the tree which is positioned in front of the sliding door going to the deck.  You can see the pond from her perch and she watched intently.  Today was rainy so we had to open and shut the windows which drives Sadie crazy.  Get in the window, get out of the window...

Now for the garden...  With the pond up and running the birds have been drinking from the pond so we put up the heated birdbath.  Anson and Eric brought softball size stones and pebbles to build up an area on a shelf in the pond so the birds could bathe.  They like to duck out of the cedar, fly to the pond, drink, bathe and fly back to the cedar so we established a bathing area close to the cedar.  Hopefully this will make them comfortable.  The pond water is clear, all the fish survived but we had one frog casualty, our leopard frog didn't make it.  It will be May before the tropical plants get into the pond, they are currently in the greenhouse.

We purchased seeds today for planting and Carl is finishing the trays I will use to put my plants in.  I bought Cosmos, Zinnia, Tithonia, Red Milkweed and Orange Milkweed, Cleome, Sweet William, Mammoth Sunflower, Moonflower, Flax-Linum, Cardinal Climber, and Giant Nicotiana.  I always grow enough Cardinal Climber and Moonflower to sell at the neighborhood garage sale.

We saw our first American Toad this afternoon, a little male.  It won't be long before they are singing and laying eggs.  The tree frogs will be singing soon also.  I saw the first male Chipping sparrows yesterday also but the hummingbirds and wrens are not here yet.

Monday, April 6, 2015

From this window, April 5th, 2015

Last fall Carl mulched a few bags of leaves using the push power mower with the bag.  Then we dumped the mulched leaves on several of the flower beds in lieu of purchased mulch.  Leaves add lots of organic material to the soil as well as preserving water but in some places we got it a little deep.  So, I spent part of the day cutting back the butterfly bushes (both large and miniarture) and uncovering the iris rhizomes.  While I was fluffing up some of the leaves mashed down by the snow it was evident lots of plants are coming up.  The Meadow Sage, Yarrow, Catmint, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Iris, Tulips, Daffodils, Black-Eyed Susans, Coneflowers, Autumn Joy Sedum, Candytuft, and Veronica are all coming up through the leaves.  That's just in the two raised beds.  Since we cleaned the debris from most of the gardens last fall, this spring was a piece of cake.  In years past, my daughter, SIL and grandchildren used to come out and help us open the garden beds as a Mother's Day gift to me but somehow we lost that tradition.  Carl was saying yesterday how much he missed it.  While we aren't ancient by any means, each year takes a little longer and it's a little harder to get up after having gotten down.  The new raised bed that was built is my favorite because I can sit on the side of it and work in that bed.  Consequently, it's the nicest bed because of the ease of weeding.

While taking a break and sitting in the swing on the shed porch, we glanced up and saw half a dozen white pelicans circling the house.  Their color changes as they turn into and out of the sun, from pure snow white to greyish with black on the end of their wings.  It's mesmerizing to watch them.  There has been no evidence of our juncos for several days, we assume they have left for the north to breed.  The beautiful male Towhee has been gone for several weeks.  The chipping sparrows are not here yet nor are the hummingbirds.  According the Journey North, the hummingbirds were in Southern Illinois a week ago so they are coming.  The bluebirds were on the north box several days ago but I haven't seen them since.  We put out a feeder that holds whole peanuts but filled it with accumulated cat fur from a winter's brushing of the Persian.  We will know when nesting season starts; the birds will be pulling fur from the feeder and it will drift across the yard.  Titmice will fight over it.  Cat hair is soft and dries quickly so it's perfect for lining a nest.  I keep the brushed fur in empty tissue boxes and store it in the garage until it's needed.  In a good winter, I can fill four or five boxes.

We had a good rain four days ago and the grass started greening up immediately.  The crab apple tree outside my 'studio' (craft room) is showing leaves now.  All the maple trees around our house as well as the two river birches have either big buds or actual leaves showing.  The forecast for our area is rain this week so by the weekend, our world will be fresh and green.  We have miniature daffodils blooming in the front yard and the day lilies are up several inches.  A good rain will be a big boost to growth.

I moved the house plants into the greenhouse yesterday.  With rain and clouds the weather is perfect for them.  They need to be eased into being outdoors and with a heater for chilly nights, a week or two in the greenhouse is just what the doctor ordered.  The pond plants that have wintered over in the bay window in buckets of water should perk up being outside.  Carl will have the water barrels up soon so I can use rain water to keep the buckets filled.  It will be many weeks before the temperatures at night are stable enough for the fragile tropical plants to go in the pond.  Soon, I will be out shopping for the plants that always sell out because they can be stored in the greenhouse as well.  Black and Blue Salvia is hard to find, it's a hummingbird magnet.  Coral Nymph Salvia is also a wonderful hummingbird plant along with Gartenmeister Fuchsia.  I need two tomato plants - Celebrity and Sweet 100s, both for salads and burgers.  Celebrity is a smaller tomato but very prolific and has a wonderful flavor.  I pick the Sweet 100s and eat them right off the plant.  I used to grow Romas but found I didn't use them all so now I just grow the two types in the little courtyard off the gazebo.  It's fenced in so the animals can't get the the veggies.  This year we will reduce the pots there to allow room for a cat run outside our family room window.  This will allow our two cats access to the outside without really being free.  Our black cat, Sadie, wants to go out badly.  Our Persian, Sassy, likes the window but doesn't try to make a break for it every time the door is open.  We hope this will keep Sadie happy.

I also need seeds.  Zinnia, Cosmos and Tithonia.  The Zinnias and Cosmos will provide flowers for the bees and butterflies and seeds for the birds in the fall.  Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) will attract butterflies from everywhere.  Our Monarchs have fallen off in recent years.  Last year we only saw a couple of caterpillars and we plant milkweed specifically for them, both the orange and swamp varieties.  I need to purchase both kinds as they tend to die out after several years.  They also grow in the worst possible places, in between bricks that line the beds and outside the beds where mowing takes place.  Of course, we are careful to avoid damaging those plants but sometimes accidents happen.  Our gardens are design for nature.  If a plant can't feed something or provide a nest site, we aren't interested in cultivating it.  New this year was a screech owl box in the woods behind the house.  We saw one last year, what a thrill.  Hoping we will get a tenant.  And a Pileated Woodpecker was on the kitchen suet feeder last week, I got a picture but my hand was shaking so bad it's not a good one.  Hoping like crazy he/she will be back now that he/she knows where the suet is.  Carl bought an extra box of 12 cakes just to make sure we had it on hand.  Well, that's life in the midwest in early April, I hope where ever you are, nature is good to you.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Here a cat, there a cat....

Everyday is a new adventure here.  Spring has given us a few warm days and no matter where Sadie is in the house, awake or asleep, if there is a whisper of a window going up, she's right there.  Sassy likes the window but Sadie is obsessed and if the weather is nice we try to make up for the years she had no access to a window by providing as many open windows and sliding doors as she can handle.

Sadie is still taking her meds every other day but I don't see her temperament changing.  She's still aggressive on occasion and we still bleed now and then.  I'm better at recognizing the quickly changing emotions than Carl is and can usually get out of the way, so I bleed less, but when she catches you with a claw, she digs deep. 

Sassy is still on bathroom lockup at night but as soon as she potties she's out of there.  We say "poop will set you free".  We've only had two accidents since we started locking her up in the laundry room and they've only been when we've relented and let her out before we see evidence in the litter box.  Yesterday we left early in the morning and only Carl came home (I was at a craft show all day).  She hadn't done anything in the box so Carl left her there for another hour, finally he took pity on her and let her out and later he found she'd used the box in the laundry room - go, Sassy.  This morning she had already gone.  She's a smart cat, she knows what "potty" means and if she wants out she needs to go potty.  She can do it on command if she has to go, she's so excited when she poops in the box, so we just don't get it when she doesn't.  I fear it will always be a mystery to us.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

From this window - 3/29/15

Carl and I are prepared for spring even if Mother Nature isn't cooperating.  I checked out a couple of the garden beds yesterday.  The fenced bed has tulips, black-eyed susans and day lilies breaking ground.  I've seen a couple of iris leaves peeping up in the front garden bed.  Autumn joy sedum is breaking ground along the sidewalks, the clematis has buds and the honeysuckle has leaves.  The flower buds on the crab apple get bigger everyday.  I've seen the cardinals chasing each other, the chickadees checking out bird houses and bird song gets louder each week.  We're looking forward to temperatures in the 60s next week when the greenhouse will go up.  Carl has repaired all the birdhouses, moved the wren houses to the back of the woods and added sparrow resistance to the box by the craft room.  We're testing something new this year.  If the wren likes that box, we also have deterrent for him which worked well last year.  It's a real commitment raising bluebirds. 

Update on Sadie and Sassy:  Sassy is still in lock up at night.  Every night.  She doesn't get out until there's poop and pee in the box in the laundry room.  There have even been times during the day when I've caught her sniffing in the living room so I scoop her up and lock her in the laundry room.  She always goes potty and yowls for me to let her out.  And we do.  We want her to associate the gate coming down with using the litter box.  I ordered two small window bird feeders made of clear acrylic and held up with suction cups.  We lowered my craft room storm window about eight inches and affixed the feeders to the outside of it.  I can raise the screen and fill the feeders which allow entertainment for the cats.  Even with the inside window up, they can't get the birds but they have a ton of fun trying.

Sadie is still on every other day meds but we haven't gotten her to eat them the last two days making four days without medication.  No marking around the doors so far and I actually got a picture on my phone this morning of them both laying in the dining room, one on each side of the cat tree watching the birds in the yard.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sassy, Sassy, Sassy

We're going to have to get tough if we want to straighten out Sassy.  What we don't understand is she's a smart cat, perhaps one of the smartest I've ever had.  She knows she's supposed to use the litter box, she avoids us when she's been bad, she knows what 'potty' means and does it on command if she has to go.  I can't tell you how many times I've asked her if she needs to go potty and she will go in the litter box ... or she will wait five minutes and go on the carpet.  My fault for not staying with her after I say the 'p' word.  We've locked her up at night and found pee on the laundry room floor right next to the box.  At this point I think it's a battle of sheer will.  We have been locking her up at night and in the morning if there is no poop in the box, I take her to my craft room and we put the gate up in the hall.  She can get to my craft room, my bathroom and part of the hall.  I placed the litter box (a new one just for her) in the hall by the gate.  Yesterday morning I put the litter box down and asked her if she had to go potty.  She sniffed the box a few times and walked away.  I went back into my room to check e-mail and about ten minutes later heard her yowling.  She had pooped in the litter box and was alerting me to the fact.  We opened up the gate (she had been locked up in my craft room area for about an hour) and let her go.  This morning after she was locked up in the laundry room all night, I took her back upstairs again (on the 4th floor of our quad level), put her litter box down (we keep this box put up so Sadie does not use it) and it only took about ten minutes for her to use it and yowl.  So, we let her go.  This routine is a pain in the butt for us but it's worked for two days.  We even left the house yesterday afternoon for over an hour and no messes.

Sadie is adjusting well to her every other day medication, she's even a bit more friendly and lets both of us brush her daily.  She's not allowing us to work on the knots, though.  This morning I tried and she hit me with claws, I bled for half an hour.  When she's done, she's done.

Interaction between the cats isn't getting any better.  Sassy has actually been hissing and growling at Sadie which is something she really hasn't done much of.  That tells us the dynamics of top cat might be changing from Sassy to Sadie.  But, who knows?  At this point we're just leaving them alone to work it out, they aren't fighting each other, just us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The wookie has arms....

You can see the detail work on the arms.  Since the arms are in motion, each square of mesh must be covered.  Lots of work.  Fur will be completed soon and next will be the straps that hold equipment.  Hoping all will be done by C2E2.  Brad is hoping to be his wookiee at the convention which should boost the accolades for Charlotte's costuming ability.  Together, Brad and Charlotte make a dynamic team.

A breakthrough....

Sunday night I caught Sassy scratching and sniffing around the living room.  I asked her several times if she had to go potty, she inspected one of the living room litter boxes and ran into the dining room.  I just had a feeling so I scooped her up, took her to the laundry room, put up the gate and told her to go potty.  This was about 7:00 pm Sunday.  I told Carl to check before he went to bed and if she had used the laundry room litter box to let her out - she did and he did. 

Last night I watched the clock.  About 7:00pm, I grabbed her and took her to the laundry room and closed the gate.  At 7:20 I heard her yowl, not a meow, but a full-blown "come here" and when I did, she had used the litter box so I let her out.  I spent some time loving on her and telling her what a good girl she was.  And while she pooped, she did not pee - at least not where we can find it.  So, either she didn't go or she went somewhere and we don't know where.  But...while I hate to hope, I will grab her tonight about 7:00 and lock her in the laundry room.  We'll see how fast she catches on.

On the other front, Sadie becomes more manic everyday.  She's running and jumping, in the windows and out of the windows.  She let me brush her a bit this morning but she will not allow me to tackle those knots on her back.  I'll keep plugging away at those.  Luckily Sassy loves to be brushed so we don't have that problem with her. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring fever...

Sadie is getting more active every day since we've started giving her meds every other day; she races through the house like she has someplace to go.  With the temperatures in the 50s and 60s and the windows open, Sadie has staked claim to the family room window and Sassy has moved to the bedroom window.  Soon, I will have my craft room window open (I'm waiting for a new bird feeder to put in the window) and they will congregate there.  Sassy is still thinking the litter box is optional once in a while.  We don't think anything will change that.  Sassy and Sadie still walk wide around each other but were seen sitting side by side at the top of the stairs this morning.  They're weird!  Carl and I have talked about building an enclosure outside the family room window that will allow the cats to go through the window and climb into the enclosure.  We researched plans on the internet and have come up with a design we think will work and Carl is so handy with wood.  You can also buy windows with tubes that can be put into existing windows to allow cats to pass back and forth; sort of a sophisticated pet door that looks good.  We figure Sadie will be the first one out.  Sassy has been to the gazebo many times and is always looking to go back into the house as soon as we open the door.  Sadie wants to go out any time the door is open so she might be the only one to use it.  We joke that Sadie is Carl's cat, she spends a lot of time in the basement with him and Sassy is definitely a mama's girl, so if Carl can make Sadie happy, he's thrilled to do it.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The better to hold you with, my dear...

This is the part where you start going crazy because you're so close, yet not so close. The armor and dread beads are in the mail. Hopefully we can do a fit today so we can measure for the harness. Brad is in limbo, so he started the Tuscan. Once we get measurements, he can cut the harness and work on that.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Running back to square one...

After several days of being really happy with Sassy, Tuesday morning found another mess on the living room floor three inches from the litter box.  She could have had her front feet in the box when she pooped on the carpet.  So, we're back to lock up.  Since she's eliminating about 8:00pm, we're locking her up at 7:00pm.  If she's done by the time Carl goes to bed, she can come out.  Hopefully, we'll catch most of it.  After three years, I'm not hopeful we will get this problem under control.  I had a sleepless night last night thinking about it.  I'm at my wit's end.  We've run out of ideas.  The first night in lock up in the laundry room she pooped and peed on the rug in front of the sink.  The litter box in the laundry room (and our spare bathroom) is in the table we purchased and it's very obvious she doesn't like it, although Sadie doesn't mind.  So, we moved another litter box in (defeating the purpose of hiding the litter box when guests use that bathroom) and she's using that one.  Just when the sun breaks through the clouds, we find ourselves beating our heads on walls.  Meanwhile, oblivious to all of our concerns, she's just the happiest cat - and the sweetest.

On another note, for the first time since early fall, the sun now peeks into my craft room window.  The earth is moving on its axis and spring can't be far behind.  At least in theory.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Electrical connection reestablished...

That electrical connection in Sassy's brain that we always thought was broken seems to have (at least temporarily) reconnected.  She's still using the box in the living room - the other two boxes are currently unused although Sadie does a complete sniff on both of them before going to the basement to use the box there.  I don't know what makes her dissatisfied with the boxes she previously used.  Perhaps it's the sides on the boxes.  The box that didn't have the sides on it caused her to spill over and we had to clean up the pee that was outside the box.  Totally not her fault.  And she won't use the box that Sassy is currently so fond of.  The box in the basement is an XL, much bigger than the three in the living room, perhaps she likes the bigger box.  I'd love to remove two boxes from the living room and leave the box Sassy likes.  We're afraid any change now will break the spell.

This morning I was in the living room playing with both cats.  Sassy got as close as putting her nose on Sadie's tail before Sadie walked away.  No hissing or growling, she just moved.  Sadie is still getting a pill every other day and no evidence of marking.

Sassy has developed several really large knots on her hindquarters.  She is totally comfortable with me brushing her chest, upper belly, back and sides until you reach her nether regions and her hindquarters and then she snaps at me.  So, I had Carl hold her down and got out the clippers and cut them out.  Now she looks funny, one hip is devoid of hair but the hair on her back is so long it covers some of it.  We're going to do the same thing to the other side, perhaps just shave her from her hips down her legs and butt.  That electric razor we got works a treat.  Zip, zip and we're done.  So, maybe we'll finish tonight.  Then I can introduce her to brushing where it doesn't hurt and keep that from happening again.  Sadie now has a knot at the top of her tail and she's adamant we don't get near it.  Where Sassy is a sissy and can be held down, neither of us want to deal with Sadie's teeth and claws.  Perhaps a wet towel someday, we'll wrap her up and shave it off.

Monday, March 2, 2015

From this window 3/2/15,...

Just to wet your whistle for spring.  Blue Dasher Dragonfly taken June 21, 2007 in our old pond.  Temperatures here are rising from single digits to the 40s by the end of the week.  My new lotus tuber has put up five leaves and two new shoots, the Towhee is still with us under the bird feeder, the possum made a visit last night, the male cardinals are chasing each other (a clear sign mates and territories are being chosen), birds are singing in the morning, the squirrels are playing peek-a-boo.  Even though we just got a fresh four inches of snow over the weekend, spring is happening if you know where to look.  Next week the 50s.  The greenhouse will go up, I will be selecting seeds to plant, the snow will melt and you will be able to smell the earth.  Birds will start looking for homes and checking out birdhouses so we will make sure they are clean and in good repair.  Since we did a good job of mulching last year, that chore is already done but the pond will need to be cleaned out; we will hire the people who constructed the pond to clean it.  This fall we will cover the pond with a net so we won't have so much to clean.  When you clean a pond, you remove the old water and add new.  All the dragonfly and damselfly nymphs are washed away and you need to add chemicals to encourage the bacteria that keep the pond clean to flourish.  If you can avoid that process, nature will stabilize your pond and all the critters that balance it will keep it clean and fresh.  We just have to remember when planting around the pond to leave room to attach the net.  I will be transplanting the creeping thyme from the area where we feed the fish to the slope by the stream.  The net can go over those plants with no trouble.  Today is bright and sunny and the icicles are dripping and I am hopeful to see daffodils breaking ground next week.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another journey...

The last two weeks have been up and down.  After several accidents, Sassy was on lock down again for a week.  Since she only pooped once a day and that was at night, locking her up until she pooped was the easiest thing to do.  Then she changed her schedule to early evening so did a few more accidents and did nothing when we locked her up.  One day last weekend she finally started using the box in the living room that I placed next to the window (there are three in there now).  She's used the box faithfully since then.  Another good night last night.  But Wednesday night we think Sadie made a mess (it would be the first we think she's made except for peeing).  Carl has been slipping her a small amount of laxative in her food every other day.  She has been depositing one small drop in a box and another small drop in a different box several times a day.  She eats well and she's ten pounds so she should be expelling more than she does.  We tried the laxative to see if maybe she was bound up.  Wednesday night there was a mess next to the box and one in the window box which was clearly belonged to Sassy, so we attribute the mess on the carpet to Sadie.  Perhaps she's on her way to being regular.

We have been talking about weaning Sadie off of the medication again.  She's been on it daily since early November.  We're going to try every other day and see how that works.  If we don't see any marking we'll wait a while and reduce another day - a pill every third day. 

In an unrelated story, one of the local strays made an appearance Wednesday night on the deck.  Sassy tried to go through the glass after it.  The noise she was making actually scared me.  Unlike last time, we did not bring this cat in.  The cat we invited into our house on  February 15th has been diagnosed with feline aids which, I understand, is transmitted through blood and saliva.  Since our cats were never in contact with "Morris", they are safe.  Morris lived in our spare bedroom with his own food, water and litter box, everything went out to the garage after he was picked up by Bill and Sandy.  Sandy called us with the diagnosis for which there is no cure just to alert us.  Apparently, just like people aids, feline aids compromises the immune system leaving cats vulnerable to other problems.  They can live long and happy lives, so Sandy and Bill decided not to put him down (he is such a love) and as I write, he's at the vet being neutered and having his claws taken out so he doesn't scratch their other cat.  We made the decision not to remove Sadie's claws because I think it's a barbaric thing to do but they need to do what they feel is right for their household.  Just keeping him is an act of kindness.  If ever a cat was made for love, it was "Morris".

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Update on the lotus....

This picture shows the condition of the tuber when I received it.  If you double click and blow the picture up, you can clearly see the break in the tuber.
Hopeful,  I planted both tubers in this small 9 x 12" tub and put it on my seed starting mat.  I was rewarded with several shoots from both tubers.  At this point I asked about the size of the bigger tub and was told (in capital letters), you can't transplant now, you will kill it.  Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I ordered a lotus tub, had Carl get another bag of top soil and we cut the pink tub down the side and across the bottom separating the sides from the bottom of the tub.  We slid the bottom of the pink tub into the black tub and filled in dirt so the soil was level.
This is what it looks like today.  Three leaves up and two more in process.  Carl was talking about getting a kids swimming pool to set it in but how in the world would we ever move it outside?  As it is, we will need to remove the water, place the tub on a cart and move it outside.  Fun times.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mrs. Perry D. Slocum...

When I retired the guys I worked for gave me a big gift certificate to a local nursery.  I used most of the money to buy a lotus, Mrs. Perry D. Slocum.

While this isn't my photo, this is exactly what she looked like.  She was breathtaking.  And she bloomed every year until we rebuilt the pond.  She was outside the pond for three or four days before being placed at a different depth than she was used to and she just didn't send up any more shoots.  So, a few weeks ago I ordered a dormant tuber from Bonnie Hale in North Carolina for $20.00.  I had purchased pond plants from her before and she always sent top quality plants.  She had a huge e-mail about handling the tuber, planting it, taking care of it, etc.  Pages of information.  I read it all.  When the tuber arrived broken, she implied it was my fault, she had been mailing tubers for 16 years, I  must have handled it roughly (I swear, I did not).  Her information had dire warnings about broken tubers not surviving.  Hoping for the best, I followed directions for planting, added bottom heat, used good top soil and was rewarded with shoots from both pieces of the tuber (so much for dire warnings).  What was not included in the information she provided was how fast these shoots would grow and how quickly they would fill the container I had them in (a tub that came home from the hospital with my father-in-law).  So I emailed her and asked her what dimensions the tubs she used were and got a snarky e-mail back that said I could not transplant the tuber now, it would kill it and didn't I read the information she gave me?  OK, so much for customer service.  I ordered a lotus tub on line and received it today.  Carl filled it with top soil for me and then cut the sides off of the container I was using.  We just lifted the bottom of the hospital tub into a depression in the new tub and added dirt around it to the level it was used to and then I added water.  We do need more top soil but the tubers haven't been disturbed and we won't have to do this again.  I am hoping for the best but it's survival of the fittest around here.  (We have been known to plant annual perennials.)  We will not have to disturb it again but it won't go in the pond until June, heaven only knows how big it will be by then and I'm wondering where I'm going to put it that has enough light to keep it alive.  Note to self:  next time, stupid, pay the extra money and buy the lotus in June and let someone else do the worrying.

And, this is my photo.  Worth a little trouble, right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wookiee's got legs....

It seems that Wookiees need legs and this one's got 'em.  Legs are done. Charlotte will do some tweaking of colors when it's completely finished and she's working on the front chest now. Go fingers, go.

 Wookiees need a voice and this is the start. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Come in out of the cold....

Having a super territorial cat can be a problem.  When the local strays sit on the deck and stare at her through the sliding glass door she tends to get pretty upset.  So last night in 2 degree weather, when the motion activated light on the deck came on, she ran to see what was what.  There, shivering, was an orange cat looking in at the warm.  In spite of the fact we knew our cats would go ballistic, we could not leave him outside in those temperatures.  So, I stepped outside and picked him up.  He immediately clung to me purring loudly.  We couldn't let him down in the house so we put him in the gated laundry room (Sassy's lock up room) with food, water and a litter box.  We quickly discovered he was a jumper, up on the sink and then to the gate where he just climbed me.  He's the lap cat I was looking for when I discovered Sassy and Sadie.  What a love.  We finally equipped the spare bedroom with all the necessities and locked him in there for the night.  We got on our neighborhood facebook and found someone who recently lost their cat and wanted him.  After being assured that he would be an indoor cat, we made plans for him to be picked up today.

Doesn't he look like Morris?  If our cats weren't so nuts, we'd keep him.  Sassy spent last night running around the living room jumping in the air every time she heard a tiny noise.  She was locked up last night right next door but used her litter box and got out of lock up early this morning.  She's still pretty freaked.  Sadie isn't paying a lot of attention but we attribute that to the drugs. 

I just did a walk-about to check on the cats.  Sassy is asleep in the master bedroom window and Sadie is sleeping in the hall outside my craft room.  Neither one is paying any attention to "Morris".  So...  Update after he's picked up.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sassy back on lock up....

Sassy has had repeated accidents since we returned from Florida.  While not everyday, she manages to not hit the litter box several times a week - always solids.  When she was using the litter box mat I wasn't too concerned, but she's moved to the carpet again.  We brought up the gate and she's back in lock up in the laundry room again.  The first night she's using the litter box again.  I wish we could figure out just what's off with her.  It's all in her head, we've eliminated everything else.  She's such a silly girl.

Wookiee update....

Slow progress on the wookiee front.  Blending, straightening, latching all takes lots of time.  A thirty hour weekend latching session didn't finish as much as she thought it would.  They are still shooting for spring as a finish date so have opted to buy the face mask as opposed to sculpting it. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Who stole Sadie and replaced her with an exact copy?

Tuesday morning I was in the family room awaiting my Tuesday lunch date when Sadie came down.  She's pretty reclusive, when we're all in the family room (Carl, Sassy and I), Sadie is usually in the back bedroom or our bedroom upstairs.  We've not been able to convince her to hang with us.  But Tuesday, there she was.  So I grabbed the stick with the flannel strip and tried to entice her to play...and she did.  I had her running all over the family room while Sassy watched with what I imagine was astonishment.  We played Wednesday and again today.  So, either the pod people have been here, cloned Sadie, took away the real one and left a pliant duplicate -- or Sadie is coming around.

Monday, February 2, 2015

About Sadie...

We've been having some issues with Sadie (with Sassy, too, but that's for another day).  She's been pooping tiny amounts, about the size of a peanut, two in this box - and later, two in another box.  Some are drop offs on the floor but always small.  Sadie is a big eater, she eats wet food and dry food, both hers and what Sassy leaves, so a lot in should equal a lot out.  Carl called my attention to something she did in the basement box that was laced with blood.  I immediately got on the internet and did some research and then I called the vet who confirmed what I thought.  Apparently if cats strain to eliminate fecal matter, they can burst tiny blood vessels.  Trace amounts of blood in a stool isn't anything to worry about.  I was told to keep an eye on it and if it showed up again, make an appointment.  Two days later I caught her straining in the litter box but only deposited one tiny piece so we pulled out the laxative (salmon flavored) and gave her a strip.  Luckily she loves it.   We actually think Sadie has been constipated.  She didn't poop all day yesterday and she hid under the table skirt almost all day.  She's been with me in the craft room or down at the dining room door most days so not seeing her was unusual.  Today she pooped huge, threw up and ate all her breakfast as well as some treats.  She's been out and about, right now she's in my craft room on the window ledge; she followed me to the family room while I folded clothes and back up here again.  We are going to give her a maintenance dose every three days and just keep an eye on her.  If we still have trouble, then it's off to the vet.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Update on new cat furniture...

We've had success with the new end table containing the litter box.  The entry is large enough for even the pudgy cat to fit inside.  The high sides of the litter box inside keeps our Sadie from peeing over the side of the box, in fact, so successful that I've replaced two of our extra large boxes with two of the high sided boxes.  We've left the door of the end table half open so they would get used to going inside and now we only close it when we have company which was actually the reason I purchased it in the first place, to hide the litter box from company.  And it certainly looks good, so good a guest recently expressed interest in buying one for herself. 

I have also reduced the number of litter boxes in the living room from three to two.  I sprinkled lavender essential oil where the removed box used to be.  I've had good luck keeping them from using the carpet or the mat with the lavender oil.  The only place I won't use it is on the mat or carpet leading to the box (that would kind of defeat the purpose).  So far, so good.  And, last of all, I purchased two new mats ( and oriented them long ways so the litter box is at the end of the long side and they have to walk the length of the mat which removes most of the litter from their paws.  Our original mats ( actually hold odor and need to be cleaned often.  So, we'll keep them as emergency mats after we've cleaned them thoroughly.

We have also been giving Sadie laxative a couple of times a week because she's depositing little marbles in one box and an hour later in another box.  The laxative seems to help her eliminate all at one time.  And she loves it.  An update with Sadie, for the last three or four days she's been pretty much with me, either in the craft room or following me around.  She let me pick her up yesterday for about five minutes, always a welcome surprise.  Yesterday she was eating in the dining room and actually brushing Sassy with her tail.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Introduction to a handsome fellow...

This is an Eastern Towhee and this is not my picture, but one of these little guys has been hanging around the feeder for several weeks.  I think I saw him in early spring drinking at the pond but he disappeared during nesting time.  If he came back to drink, I missed him.  Having the natural pond invites so much more wildlife than the more formal pond we used to have.  If you want to know more about this fancy guy, vist: where you can also hear their wonderful song. 

In other nature news:  the little possum came to visit us last night.  He drinks from the birdbath on the deck and then heads down the stairs to the bird feeders.  Ugly?  Cute?  Jury is still out.  We saw the doe with the twins a couple of days ago.  She was just walking down the street.  I suspect she's pregnant again and will be ditching the twins for the new baby/babies.  Maybe we will be lucky enough to see a hidden fawn this spring - always a joy.