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 (http://www.wayfair.com/Imperial-Cat-Heavy-Duty-Litter-Mat-00104-IPC1046.html) 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 (http://www.wayfair.com/PetFusion-SmartGrip-Cat-Litter-Mat-PETF1001.html) 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:  http://birds.audubon.org/birds/eastern-towhee 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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The litter box has a new home...

This is our guest bathroom and has always had a litter box in this corner.  This looks sooooo much better.  The real test will be:  will either of the cats use it?  I will let you know.  I know I love it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The cats get new furniture...

In the middle of a reorganization project at home I finally decided to take the leap and order this piece of furniture for our guest bathroom.  I've always been unhappy with having an open litter box in the guest bathroom but the cats seem to like it.  I've had this box on my wish list at Amazon for about two years watching it fluctuate in price, first up, then down.  I ordered it this morning along with the recommended litter box.

I'm hoping that they'll like it.  We have already used a closed box with them, Sadie seems to like it more than Sassy but this is just one of six boxes so we can afford to experiment.  If this works, I'll get another set for the living room which isn't our main room to relax in; we have a family room we spend all our time in.  Our living room is devoted to Carl's desk and my treadmill along with the litter boxes and cat toys.  I will let you know how it works, how easy it is to clean (we clean boxes several times a day) and will post pictures when it arrives and we have it set up.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My daughter married a wookiee...

My SIL belongs to a Star Wars Costume group - The 501st Midwest Garrison.  This conglomeration of characters from the dark side of Star Wars movies attends events to help collect money for charities, hence: Bad guys doing good.  There is also a group of rebels (the good guys).  Brad for many years has been a Stormtrooper but is leaving the dark side temporarily for the good side.  When finished, this will be a full-fledged tarfull.  (Tarfful was a male Wookiee Chieftain of Kachirho who was an old friend of Chewbacca and fought in the Battle of Kashyyyk during the Clone Wars, at least until the battle ended during the start of the Great Jedi Purge. During the battle in 19 BBY, he had good relations with Yoda and was behind him for the entirety of the battle. Tarfful, while not a general, carefully planned out the placement of troops and warriors with Jedi Masters Luminara Unduli and Quinlan Vos. Vos also led the charge with both him and Chewbacca.)  OK, that's more than you wanted to know, right?
This costume is being created with football padding, an adult jumpsuit made out of cargo netting, hair and stilts.
The hair was purchased from a beauty shop in many different colors, boiled to straighten and individual strands were mixed to create this lovely color.
Now it's just tedious latch hooking the hair to the mesh underlay, hoping to be finished by spring.
The end...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dividing my blogs...

For the last three days I have been combining blogs, editing, repairing spelling.  My butt hurts but I'm glad I did it.  This blog started out being about creating greeting cards.  It evolved into lots of other things.  I've removed the greeting cards and moved them to:  http://kardmkr.blogspot.com/.  If you like the cards, card making tools, tutorials and my digital sentiments, please follow me there.  If you like the nature related posts, photographs, and my musings, please follow this blog.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

We returned home last night after two weeks in Southern Florida.  From the 80s in Key Largo to the 30s in central Illinois.  We were not looking forward to the weather but I was soooooooo happy to get back to my bed and pillow.  On the home front, we were regularly in touch with our cat sitter who is wonderful with our cats.  She understands their issues and doesn't get mad at them when they act out.  Sassy, apparently, was back to her old tricks, pooping on the carpet.  She had been using the box when we left after an extended stay in lock up.  It could be separation anxiety.  This morning I asked her if she had to go potty and she hopped right in the box and went.  Fingers crossed.  Sadie has been on her pill for about eight weeks.  She has been using the box regularly, we've found no marking around the doors in several weeks.  The Prozac needs about six weeks to really start working according to the ASPCA web site.  While we hate to medicate her, our alternative is to return her to the shelter.  We've tried every other suggestion we've found and she still would mark the doors.  The only downside besides having to give her a pill every day is it seems to make her more unwilling to be affectionate, to be touched or brushed.  I've picked her up several times since we got home and once she even purred but that's the exception, not the rule.  Carl hasn't been able to touch her without growling. 

Just before we left we noticed what I considered 'play' among the cats.  They were chasing each other.  No growling or hissing, just a little back and forth which encouraged us that someday, they might actually enjoy each others company.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas to us...

Life goes on.  Sadie is still on the meds, she's got another week before we pass the 6 week mark.  She's not very keen on being touched, you have a better chance if you wake her up, you'll get in a few strokes before she growls and moves away.  We've noticed no hissing at Sassy or growling, they now sleep in the same room (our bedroom - Sadie on the bed, Sassy in the window).  Sassy is still in lock-up every night.  Carl locks her up in the laundry room when he goes to bed and if she's pooped in the litter box when he gets up, he lets her out.  Some days earlier than others.  I don't know if she's getting the idea but she's been getting out around 5 a.m. most days.  He feeds them - Sadie gets her pill in a teaspoon of food and after she's eaten that, he fills her bowl.  Sassy has been getting more knots than usual so I brush her every night and after brushing, we play.  Sadie plays around the cat tree and in our bedroom only.  We still can't get her comfortable in the family room where we spend the most time.  Sassy is almost always close to us but Sadie doesn't seem to feel the need for company.  We keep hoping that will change.  Time will tell.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kitty jail again....

Sassy has officially gone into kitty lock-up at night.  Last night was the second night and both nights she has used the litter box.  She was also most anxious to get out of jail this morning.  The rule is, she doesn't leave jail until she poops in the litter box.  She has the run of the house all day but when Carl goes to bed, into the laundry room she goes.  About two weeks of this and she'll be good to go again.

Sadie is still less than 30 days on her medication.  December 9th would be a month and we need six weeks.  She's still untouchable most of the time.  She has been much friendlier in the past so we hope it is just the medication.  Time will tell.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A hair's worth of progress...

We're still having problems with the elimination outside the box.  Sadie is still peeing around the doors although not as much, we do see progress there.  Sassy goes from carpet to mat to litter box with no reasons that we can find.  Last night both girls pooped in the same box, but I cannot find any pee from Sadie, perhaps it's in the basement, I didn't check that box.

We have noticed two things:  one is Sadie is carrying her tail up once in a while.  She's NEVER done that before, her tail is always dragging the ground.  Our research says a tail up belongs to a confident cat.  Sassy is 70% tail up and 30% tail down.  Sunday will be the end of the 3rd week for Sadie's meds, so we still have three more weeks.  Also, it's the end of the first month for the Feliway, we just put in two new bottles in the two of the diffusers.

Something else we've started - giving treats only when the cats are close together and in our bedroom which has pretty much been Sadie territory since we got her.  So, if the cats are within three feet of each other and no hissing or growling, I have two silver bowls I keep on my dresser with a big bag of treats and I put treats in both bowls and set the bowls in front of the girls.  So far, so good.

So, baby steps....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Busy, busy, busy...

I've managed to get myself into a world of busy.  I was commissioned to make glass blocks and tumblers for a fundraiser to raise money for the Washington, IL tornado victims.  I've just come up for air and will be starting a new project in just a moment.  I never feel more helpless than at a time like this.  The devastation was widespread and it happened within spitting distance of our home.  We know people who live in Washington and our hearts go out to them.  If you are feeling charitable, there are plenty of organizations that could use your help.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two days of quiet...

On November 9th we started Sadie back on her medication.  The  ASPCA website says that it needs to be administered for at least six weeks before behavior change.  Sadie has been marking the doors in the house; our front door, garage door and on occasion the sliding doors to the deck.  Females marking could be caused due to territorial issues or issues with other cats in the household.  Sassy doesn't have a mean bone in her body.  We've never seen her aggressively go after Sadie.  That's not to say it doesn't happen when we aren't looking but it's been almost two years we've had them together.  We're not sure what Sadie's issues are, but we're both tired of cleaning up after her.

Sassy seems to have regressed, also.  She had been doing so well with the litter boxes that we quit looking for messes and now she's started making them again.  95% of the time her messes are on the mats we put down under the litter boxes, but one was actually on the carpet.  I purchased three bottles of essential oils:  lemon, eucalyptus and lavender.  We've cleaned the areas that both cats mess on and then sprinkled them with one of the three essential oils.  We started that about four days ago.  Today, for the second day, we have no messes, both cats are going where they are supposed to go.

Sadie has been a little aggressive since we restarted her meds.  You have a 50/50 chance of being able to pet her.  First she will growl, then hiss and then put out her claws.  I'm usually gone at the growl but she did walk up between us in bed last night - a first since 11/9.  She used to wake us up by licking our hands or, in my case, my hair, but she hasn't done that since we started her meds.  An adjustment period, to be sure. 

I - quana show you some pictures....



This little guy used to live in our local hardware store.  A friend of mine who is iguana crazy asked me to take some pictures of him because she couldn't afford to buy him.  I never realized how many gorgeous colors an iguana has.  All though not my cup of tea, the photos turned out well.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our junkie cat...

Day three of Sadie's meds.  We haven't found any marking in the last two nights but Sassy is still using the litter mat to poop on.  At least it's consistent and always on the mat which is easy to clean up.  Sadie joined us in the living room, stretching out on the couch this morning.  She's not very social as a rule and doesn't like to be anywhere that Sassy is.  Sassy walked up to the couch and Sadie growled and slapped at her.  While the medication decreases Sadie's stress and tension, I do believe it increases her aggression.  If it continues, we will find out if there is another medication we can put her on.  I really wish I knew what happened that changed everything, we had been doing so well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

D├ętente...

For several days at the end of last week and the first of this week we've had lots of growling and hissing.  Every time one cat rounded a corner and encountered another cat, we had noise.  Sadie had stopped sleeping in our bedroom and Sassy started sleeping in our bedroom.  For eighteen months Sadie has called our bedroom home.  She's either in the window, on the bed or under it.  All of a sudden Sassy (who has never shown any interest in our bedroom) is sleeping there every night and even on the bed once in a while.  We thought perhaps there was a power struggle but after eighteen months of living together, what could have set that off?  Sadie had started peeing on the floor by the front and garage doors, even once in the dining room by the sliders.  We've racked our brains trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  Sadie, who was getting more affectionate with us since we stopped her meds, both bit and scratched me yesterday while I was petting her.  She got a claw hooked in my arm and while I was trying to disengage it, she bit me and I bled.  Real blood.  And Sassy has taken to pooping on the new large mat I bought to put under the two living room litter boxes.  In her defense, she always uses the same corner and keeps it on the mat.  Easy to clean up and she's been consistent.  For a couple of months we had no problems, every one was using the litter box and all was calm.  Something started them off again but we have no idea what.

I finally broke down and purchased four of the Feliway dispensers with Feliway and an extra six pack of the inserts.  The literature says it could take a month to work.  I installed them Wednesday morning and right now both cats are asleep.  Sadie was active early this morning but Sassy has been asleep since we got up.  I checked - she's breathing.  Sassy has always slept more than Sadie after we discontinued Sadie's meds.  Let this be a lesson to anyone reading - if you have a female cat and want another one - get a male.  Two female cats that are unrelated are like two women in a kitchen, it often doesn't work out well.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tomato hornworm....


Tomato hornworms can be up to 5 inches long—which can be quite a shock when you first come across one! They do the most damage in the caterpillar, or larvae, stage. They are pale green with white and black markings, plus a horn-like protrusion. (They are not capable of stinging.) The life cycle is as follows:
  • In late spring, large adult moths lay eggs on the undersides of foliage, which will hatch within a week.
  • Caterpillar larvae will feed from 4–6 weeks before creating a cocoon for overwintering in the soil. If the weather is warm enough, larvae may only burrow for as little as 2–3 weeks.
  • Moths will emerge in the spring, and can be identified by their orange markings. They will then lay eggs once again. More than one generation a year may be possible in warmer climates.
The larvae blend really well with the plant greenery. Just get used to a daily patrol, looking for hornworm eggs and small caterpillars. Here are some cues of infestations:
  • Look closely at the TOP of your tomato leafs for dark green droppings left by the larva feeding on the leaves. Then look at the underside of leaves and you'll find a hornworm.
  • Look for stems missing some leaves and wilted leaves hanging down. You may find white cocoons and their hornworm hosts nearby.
  • Look for an entire tomato plant disappearing while you are at work.  These guys are voracious.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mantis of a different color....


Praying Mantis come in lots of different colors.  This one was a remarkable green hiding in a vine that was planted on the deck.