7/30/11 – SCOOP HANDS!

(Originally posted on November 5, 2008; edited only to take out the profanity so I can post it over at the family-friendly Love & Hisses!) Several weeks ago, I decided that the leaves in the side yard needed to be raked up and carried (via the tractor) to the compost heap. Fred brought the tractor … Continue reading “7/30/11 – SCOOP HANDS!”

(Originally posted on November 5, 2008; edited only to take out the profanity so I can post it over at the family-friendly Love & Hisses!)

Several weeks ago, I decided that the leaves in the side yard needed to be raked up and carried (via the tractor) to the compost heap. Fred brought the tractor around, and I scooped the leaves up into the tractor… scoop… thingy.

It was a pain, using my hands and the rake to scoop up all those leaves.

Not long after, as if a sign directly from the Gods of Gardening, I happened to be leafing through a catalog – Gardener’s Supply Company, to be exact – and I came across an item that would surely make my life easier.

Leaf Scoops!

Big scoops that are made to fit over your hands, with which you can pick up leaves and debris! And they only cost $12.95 (note: they’re $14.95 now. STUPID ECONOMY). I KNEW I had to have them. I ordered them, and they arrived on my front porch lickety-split.

And then I ignored them. Because I’d already taken care of the pile of leaves and I felt no sudden urge to do any more raking. So they sat there on the dining room table. And sat there. And sat there. Then I moved them out to the garage, and they sat there. And sat there.

Then one day, after Fred moved the littlest chickens from the brooder to the small chicken coop, we went out at dusk to herd them into their chicken coop. Little chickens are not born knowing that they’re supposed to go back into the coop when it starts to get dark, so it takes a few weeks of teaching them to go back in. They eventually get the idea and start going in on their own, but the two weeks of teaching them to go in the coop at dark is a killer.

Herding chickens is not so much fun, especially little chickens, because they’re tiny and can slip through the space between your hands before you’ve realized it.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

One evening, after too much time spent chasing the little chickens around and putting them in their coop, a light bulb went on over my head, and I thought “Hey. Those leaf scoops are kind of big. I wonder if they’d be any help?”

Yes INDEED they were helpful. They were VERY helpful. They were, as they say, the best thing since sliced bread. With the help of the leaf scoops (or, as I started calling them, SCOOP HANDS) we got those baby chickens herded and put away in no time flat.

So I present to you, dear readers, a pictorial to answer the burning question:


As mentioned, you can herd baby chickens with SCOOP HANDS!

You can ALSO herd ADULT chickens with SCOOP HANDS!

You really CAN scoop up leaves with SCOOP HANDS!

You can swat at wasps that dive-bomb you with SCOOP HANDS!

You can scratch pigs behind the ears with SCOOP HANDS!

You can deflect Het Rays from stumpy little gray cats with SCOOP HANDS! (Awww, Mister Boogers, RIP.)

The SCOOP HANDS, as you can see, are multi-functional. They are inexpensive, they are light, they are AWESOME. They are not, however, perfect. There are many things you cannot do with SCOOP HANDS!

So with this incomplete list, I answer the burning question:


You cannot pick carrots with SCOOP HANDS!

You cannot pull a wagon with SCOOP HANDS!

You cannot help build a chicken coop with SCOOP HANDS!

You cannot open a gate with SCOOP HANDS!

You cannot stop yourself from getting smutz on the front of your shirt with SCOOP HANDS! SCOOP HANDS are not MAGIC, and if you are a klutz, you’ll be a klutz with or without SCOOP HANDS!

You cannot stop your husband from taking a picture of your butt unexpectedly, with SCOOP HANDS! Well, you could if you knew he was going to do it, but SCOOP HANDS are not all-knowing. SCOOP HANDS have no intelligence of their own. If you want to protect your butt from unwanted pictures, you have to direct the SCOOP HANDS to cover your back end!

The list could go on (don’t groan and roll your eyes at me!), but the list of things you both can and cannot do with SCOOP HANDS is infinite. You could probably come up with a new thing to do and not do with SCOOP HANDS every day (Come back! I won’t. I promise!), but I think you should know this, without a doubt:


(Though if you don’t rake leaves or herd chickens, they might not really be worth your time. They still rock, though!)

7/29/11 – Friday

Hey! Do you live in or near the Orange County part of New York? Were you just saying to yourself “I sure do need a sweet little brown tabby and white kitten to love and hug and call George”? Or were you like “I think Mom needs a kitten so she won’t be so lonely. … Continue reading “7/29/11 – Friday”

Hey! Do you live in or near the Orange County part of New York? Were you just saying to yourself “I sure do need a sweet little brown tabby and white kitten to love and hug and call George”? Or were you like “I think Mom needs a kitten so she won’t be so lonely. I should get one for her!” ? Well, fret no more. This little monkey needs a home. Go check him out!

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Sweet pickled jalapenos??? Is there such a thing??? Where can I get the recipe?? :0)

There is! And you can get the recipe right here!

Sweet Pickled Jalapenos

4 c. sliced jalapeno peppers
4 c. onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced thinly

Pickling liquid:
2 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp celery seed
3 c. sugar
2 c. cider vinegar

Combine all pickling liquid ingredients. Bring to a hard boil. Add veggies; bring to a boil again and seal in hot, clean jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

*Notes: I don’t always use an equal amount of jalapenos and onion – it all depends on what I have on hand. Same with the bell peppers.

The printable version is over yonder.

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My daughter’s new BF came over last night for a meet and greet, during which we learned that in addition to his mother having a nasty-ass Chihuahua and his having an iguana, they also raise chickens. Without even thinking I asked if they raise them for freezer camp. That brought the conversation to a screeching halt while everyone stared at me. Turns out they raise the chickens for eggs. FINE, THEN! WHATEVER! It was a perfectly rational question! Geez. Kids today.

What I love about “freezer camp” is that it’s self-explanatory! Heh.

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Fried green tomatoes seem to be an American thing. I know I could google recipes but they wouldn’t be And3rson endorsed so is there any chance of you posting or linking to the recipe you use for oven fried green tomatoes? Downunder, we seem to only eat our tomatoes red and I’d love to try the green version.

Any current fosters that Fred knows by name?

I use this recipe right here (be sure to read the note at the bottom for an update). I keep a container of that breading in the fridge all summer long, and it makes oven-frying super easy. Love the oven-fried veggies!

Fred calls the current fosters “Maggie’s baby” (Ciara), “AJ/ Alice Junior” (Coriander), “The Brown Tabby” (Clove), and “Not the Brown Tabby and Not AJ” (Cilantro). So I’d say, no. He doesn’t know any of them by name! He thinks they’re at the perfect age, though, I can tell you that.

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You know, sometimes it’s tempting to glamorize your Crooked Acres life — it sounds really lovely, and I often think about how nice it would be to have such a big nice garden or keep chickens or live out in the country. And then you go and write about those goddamn spiders, and I realize, NEVER NO WAY UH-UH STAYING RIGHT HERE IN THE CITY THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Well DAHHHHHHHHHHHLING, not every can handle such a glamorous life. 😉 (Glad to help out!)

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Robyn, enjoy this article I read today about a man possibly killed by 19 black widow spider bites. You’re welcome!

You are eeeeeeeeeeeeevil. (Fred swears that Black Widows don’t come into the house. Uh huh.)

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I see your brown recluses and black widows and raise you… WOLF SPIDERS. They often hang out in our sprinkler box and HOLY HELL they give me a serious urge to grab a shotgun. Check this shit out. They’re not poisonous but that doesn’t matter ONE BIT.

UGH. My metaphorical testicles just crawled up inside my body. Those things look like they’re practically big enough to roast over an open fire. GAH.

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The New York Times has a “Think Like a Doctor/Medical Mystery” column that can be pretty interesting. They had one a couple of weeks ago about a mysterious ailment in a gardener that turned out to be a black widow spider bite. It was fascinating. If it doesn’t squick you out too much, check it out:

The mystery.

The followup.

That is simultaneously interesting and creepy! I’ve always heard (well, from Fred, anyway) that Black Widow bites are particularly painful – that even if it doesn’t kill you, you’ll wish you were dead.

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Ugh. I just read on Wikipedia about a case in Kansas where 2000 brown recluse spiders were removed from a house in Kansas. The 4 people living in the house had never been bitten, though. Two THOUSAND! Man, I just gave myself the shivers.

I had to go look that up, and let me quote from this page:

(In 2001, more than 2,000 brown recluse spiders were removed from a heavily infested home in Kansas, yet the four residents who had lived there for years were never harmed by the spiders, despite many encounters with them.[12]) The spider usually bites only when pressed against the skin, such as when tangled up within clothes, towels, bedding, inside work gloves, etc. Many human victims of brown recluse bites report having been bitten after putting on clothes that had not recently been worn or lying undisturbed on the floor.

Just CREEPY. The thing I find most repulsive about Brown Recluses is that they’re so LEGGY. They’re like all LEGS and I cannot abide a leggy insect. Gah.

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Do you ever get nervous/annoyed having random strangers stop in for eggs? God, I hate it SO MUCH when anyone comes to my door for any reason whatsoever.

I’m usually more annoyed than anything, and nine times out of ten, if someone pulls into the driveway and I see/ hear them in time, I’ll go hide in the center of the house so I don’t have to deal with them. I don’t take too kindly to strangers, y’know. But the times when I’m outside when someone pulls in, or the driveway alarm doesn’t go off and I don’t spot them until I glance over to the side and they’re standing at the bottom of the stoop and I’m stuck having to deal with them, it’s actually not so bad. It doesn’t happen a LOT, thankfully.

I never ever ever answer the front door if someone knocks if I can help it, because no one who’s been here would ever come to the front door. We always use the side door, so anyone knocking on the front door is going to be a stranger, most likely trying to sell me something.

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Could “yeff” be yes?

It’s possible, but I got the impression that “yeff” was what he wanted rather than a response to my asking if he wanted eggs. Someone suggested that perhaps he was trying to say “Ouef” (French for “eggs”), which I suppose is also possible. I think what I need to do is actually take a Spanish class so I can communicate at least in rudimentary Spanish with our egg customers!

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I just read about purslane on Suzanne’s site. Have you eaten it yet? It sounds… interesting. We have had it growing in the flowerbeds here and I have been pulling it out and ditching it for years. It is pretty when it first starts but then takes over so quickly.

We have eaten some purslane, and it was pretty good. We ate it raw in a salad, and I’ve also stir-fried it with onions in a little olive oil, and it was good both ways. I may try planting it in the big garden next year (was it on Suzanne’s site where I read that it’s a good companion plant for corn?), because the raised bed is really too small to grow a decent amount. I’m impressed at how tenacious it is, actually. I cut it down to the dirt several weeks ago, and it just grew back bigger and bushier than before.

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The picture of Joe Bob and Ciara made me think of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. LOL.

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HA! Yeah, I can definitely see that.

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So wasps DO have a useful purpose in life? They eat other nasty insects? Who knew?! Seriously, I thought they existed just to sting us and maybe provide food for birds.

I figured they existed just to dive-bomb my head and make me run around in circles like a big baby!

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I bought that “kiss my ass” magnet last weekend in Las Vegas. My icebox is now nearly completely covered in irreverent, sarcastic magnets. It’s taken years to collect them but I can’t imagine having a magnet-free icebox.

I love a good sarcastic magnet!

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Yikes, big waspy scary bug thing! Have you tried www.whatsthatbug.com? They might be able to tell you what it is. I think it’s skeery and am glad you posted teeny pictures!

I went and looked, and have decided that it might be a red paper wasp, only the back end on “my” wasp is darker than the rest of its body, so I sent in a picture and asked for help. If they get back to me, I’ll be sure to let y’all know!

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I have a kitten who is roughly the age of the McMaos, maybe a week older. I also have 2 older cats, a 7 year old and a 14 year old (my Miz Poo clone). The kitten has had free reign of the house for about a week and a half now.

Boundaries between the kitten and the 14 year old are well established — the 14 year old is a hisser/growler/spitter, and the kitten has learned to keep his distance.

The problem is with the 7 year old (Tashi). The kitten follows her around like a shadow, always poking at her and trying to jump on her. Tashi has started growling and hissing more, but the kitten isn’t really getting the hint and it’s stressing Tashi out. Poor girl feels like she has to hide all the time.

Any suggestions for getting the kitten to back off a bit? I’m hoping Tashi will start to be more aggressive and assert herself and that the kitten will start to get into a normal routine, but in the meantime Tashi looks like she needs a valium. If I’m home I can mediate a bit, but I’m out of the house at least 3 days a week.

Help, oh guru of kitty integration!

When you originally introduced the kitten to the other cats, did you do it gradually, or did you just kind of let him have the run of the house? Because I’m thinking that you might want to go back a few steps and keep the kitten contained in a room by himself and introduce him slowly. You also might want to try Feliway (I don’t know that it really makes a lot of difference in our house, but some people swear by it), and possibly also some Rescue Remedy for Tashi might help chill her out a bit. Other than that, I’m kind of at a loss, so I’m tossing this out for others to chime in on! (Make sure you check the comments at Love & Hisses, too, I’m going to post it over there as well!)

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Spanky looks SO SOFT and fluffy. Is he?


Spanky, as you all probably know is my favorite. He looks so soft. Is he a lap cat? Actually I prefer a side cat. Meaning I like to have a sweet kitty cat laying next to me on the couch.

Spanky has very silky fur which makes him a pleasure to pet. I also think he has the prettiest eyes, they’re such a lovely sea green.

He’s not a lap cat at all, though every once in a while if you’re snoozing on the couch he’ll settle in between your legs so that you’re stuck in one position for the duration of your nap, whether you like it or not. Most of the time he prefers to sit next to you, and if you’re not paying enough attention to him, he’ll touch his cold nose to your hand or leg – or any exposed skin, really – until you give in.

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I loved Gus and his floof, I wonder if he is still as floofy?

I suspect, given the amount of ear floof he had, he’s probably still just as floofy. Here’s a shot of him when he was less of a wee kitten, and it cracks me up because of the ear floof:


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Pancho has the Mark of Zorro in his ear!


Somehow I’ve forgotten about Pancho….maybe you could refresh my memory your Friday post? I’ve never had a solid white cat! No idea why not, except that all my cats have been strays, and a white cat just never wandered into my path. In my neighborhood most cats are either black or grey tabbies.

Pancho was one of Los Gatitos, a litter of white cats (their page is here). They were only with us very briefly – July 15th – 23rd, 2010 – and were given Spanish names because their date of birth was guesstimated to be May 5th, Cinco de Mayo. Pancho had two green eyes, his brother Hermano had two blue eyes (he wasn’t deaf, as some blue-eyed white cats are), their sister Evita had green eyes, and Sofia had one blue and one green eye.

The kittens had numbers written inside their ears at the vet’s office so they wouldn’t be mixed up, and Pancho was number two, which explains the Harry Potter lightning bolt inside his ear!

We have only seen one white cat come through here – yesterday, Fred looked out the side door, and said “We don’t know that cat, do we?” I looked, and there was a white cat casually laying under the truck. When I opened the door, the cat looked over, got up, and moseyed off. I suspect he belongs to someone in the neighborhood, but if he shows up again, I’ll try to get a picture (right before we trap him and whisk him off to the vet for testing and spaying/ neutering!)

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Robyn, have you seen this? Woman With 700 Cats Says “I’m Not Crazy, What I Do Is Crazy”

Could be your future ;-p

Oh no no no, I’m perfectly happy to be a foster home, NOT an actual shelter!

That said, I cannot wait to see that special!

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Wow, the Spices have hit that long, lanky stage! When did that happen? And Clove is turning from the cutest little ball of fluff into just the loveliest girl. Want!

I think it pretty much happened overnight, as they always seem to. I swear, I watch them and watch them, saying “They’re going to hit their lanky stage any moment now!”, but then I blink and they’re all of a sudden long and lanky! I need to keep a video camera on them at all times to capture the moment of lankiness-onset, obviously!

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A suggestion for your camera – assuming it has a memory card – do you remove it and put it into the computer, rather than hooking the camera to the computer?

A while ago I took a class from National Geographic photographers and they stressed *very strongly* to move the memory card from the camera to the computer when transferring files.

Also, after moving all the files from the card to the computer, they also stressed that *reformatting* the memory card, in the camera only, erases all tid bits of leftover data when one erases/deletes the files. (End of suggestions. ->^..^<- )

I do have a card reader for my memory card and look at the pictures that way (mostly because I hate using up the battery while looking through the pictures!) I also reformat the memory card in the camera, though I don’t reformat it every time I erase pictures, more like once a week or so.

The issue I was having getting the pictures off my camera is that SOMEONE chewed through the cord to the memory card reader. I don’t know who, but I have my long and lanky suspicions!

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Does Cori still have her sweet little meep eep eep eep eep! meep! meow? I kind of… you know… melted into a puddle when the video featuring it was posted before.

She doesn’t actually meow very often these days, but I’ll see if I can’t get another video of her doing so. She’s got more of a husky meow, now that she’s a big girl.

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Just wanted to say that I might be inexperienced, but I don’t recall ever seeing a shoe box with the lid attached. Is that because I do all my shopping at discount stores and on ebay? My two love ‘traditional’ shoeboxes, the tighter the better, but I bet my big guy would love one of those with the attached lid.

That shoe box is actually one that a friend sent me some cool stuff in. I can’t tell what kind of shoes came in it, but a Google search showed me that they’re called “flip lid shoeboxes”, and the first couple of links are about how to wrap them. It’s still the most popular box in the house, and if Jake or Elwood isn’t in it, then one of the little girls is. Who knew it’d end up such a hit?

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You have had Corbie checked for FIV, haven’t you? I had a beautiful shaded silver Persian who was diagnosed with FIV at several months of age. She kept getting ear infections. The vet was fairly certain she got FIV from her mother.

All Challenger’s House cats are tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia. Corbie and his brothers all initially tested FIV positive because their mother was FIV positive. They were tested when we first got them (around five weeks, I think), then again at four months, when they were a very faint positive. They finally tested negative at (I think) six months, and Corbie’s been tested again since then, just to be safe. He was definitely negative.

On a side note to newish readers, Corbie and his brothers (collectively known as The Bookworms) are half brothers to the litter known as The Wonkas (they had the same mother). The Wonkas initially tested FIV positive, too, and then eventually tested negative once the antibodies had left their systems.

That poor mother cat (who was absolutely feral) produced the best babies – I was absolutely in love with all the Wonkas AND all of the Bookworms, and I still miss all the ones who went on to forever homes.

(Okay, wait. I guess I’m always in love with ALL my fosters, aren’t I!)

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Do y’all remember last week when I posted this picture of the pigs:

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and said: Is it just me, or does this look like a Charlie’s Angels pose?

Well, Sofia ran with that concept!

robyns angels montage

Crack. Me. UP!

Thanks, Sofia!!!

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“I see what you’re doing, and I’m appalled. APPALLED, I SAY. Stop it right now!”

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Clove reminds me very much of Fergus Simon in this picture.

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Nap time in the sun!

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Until Cori comes along and has to be put in her place.

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Ferocious creatures.

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Clove is pretty sure she’s the boss, now.

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Sisters snoozing in the kitchen.

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Now! Winner of The Most Beautiful Cat Ever! As judged and awarded by the completely impartial ME! I bet you will be SO SURPRISED!

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That’s right, it’s Corbie! I know you’re shocked. You shouldn’t be. I mean, look at that gorgeous boy!

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2010: Unimpressed with me, was Mr. Frog.
2009: No entry.
2008: Hint to the chickens: You can ensure yourselves a long life by being friendly.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: “Did you fart?” I said accusingly.
2004: No entry.
2003: No entry.
2002: “KITTIES!” I scolded, and after a moment the thumping and running stopped.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.

7/28/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday

Sights from around Crooked Acres. Our first ripe cantaloupe! Better than the ones from the grocery store, according to Fred. Okra, sliced and about to go into the freezer. Once they were frozen, I poured them into a bag. This winter I’ll lay them on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast … Continue reading “7/28/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday”

Sights from around Crooked Acres.

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Our first ripe cantaloupe! Better than the ones from the grocery store, according to Fred.

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Okra, sliced and about to go into the freezer. Once they were frozen, I poured them into a bag. This winter I’ll lay them on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 425 for 10 – 15 minutes.

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My counter, such a mess. This picture is to show you that we’re getting tons of Sungold cherry tomatoes. That’s a pint jar in the bowl, for reference. Next year I’m growing ONE row of tomatoes, and I plan for half that row to be comprised of Sungolds. They’re the best cherry tomatoes you’ll ever eat, sweartogod.

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Hanging on the refrigerator, between the lid from the box of L’Oreal with which I color my hair and the very long feather from the rooster’s tail (we found it in the chicken yard, didn’t pluck it from him) is a little bundle of catnip. I cut some off the catnip plant in the raised bed garden and hung it on the fridge to dry. Fred came downstairs yesterday morning to find Sugarbutt leaned over the top of the fridge, rubbing his whiskers on the bundle. He’s a total ‘niphead.

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I love snarky magnets.

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Honestly, this one should say “Excuse the mess, we have cats and can never have ANYTHING nice.”

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Scoop! Hands! (If you’re very nice, I’ll repost my post this weekend about the many things you can do with Scoop! Hands!)

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Hydrangeas are such drama queens. “GASP! I’m DYING! I’m THIRSTY! Please WATER ME!”

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Our garden wagon. It comes in SO handy (it’s bigger than it looks!) and the thing I like best about it is that the back lifts up so you can dump whatever you have in the wagon wherever you want it to go. This comes in especially hand when I’ve used my Scoop! Hands! to pick up the pile of leaves and sticks by the side porch, and want to dump it all on the compost heap.

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Autumn Clematis is starting to bloom!

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Baby pecans are continuing to grow. I hope we get a good crop this year – it’s been two years since we got a decent crop, and we’re about to run out!

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The wisteria’s doing its best to invade the back yard. We’ll keep cutting it back, it’ll keep growing. One day when we’re very old, we’ll give up and the wisteria will cover the house in one short summer, I bet.

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Anybody know what those little black things are? Fred thinks maybe aphids. That’s one of our grape vines. Whatever those little black things are, the ants like them – in the morning, there’s a long line of ants crawling up that vine.

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The watermelon plants (there are three) in the raised bed/ straw bale, are making a run for the border.

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I posted these pictures small so that you big babies out there won’t have to look too closely and can just skip down to the next picture. What we have here is some sort of waspy sort of insect. I was out checking my raised garden, and this was hanging out on the purslane. When I looked closer, he appeared to be eating some sort of grub, and when I got even closer (but not too close, because waspy sort of insects scare me) I could see him holding what looked like a small tomato hornworm. So if you click on any of those pictures, you can go to Flickr and see them larger. Who can tell me what that waspy thing is?

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The jalapenos have been coming in like gangbusters. Yesterday I made seven or eight (I don’t remember offhand) pints of sweet pickled jalapenos!

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Cori, hanging out on the window sill.

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Cilantro (left) and Ciara on the couch.

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“What? I’m working on my tan!”

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Cori’s spotted the birds.

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Ciara always looks so appalled.

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This picture makes me laugh.

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Cori always makes herself at home.

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Ciara, appalled again.

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Sweet Miss Clove.

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Joe Bob (alternate name: Joseph Robert McGee, when he’s being bad) is such a sweet boy.

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2010: Everybody loves Martin.
2009: Maddy does not approve of this “Twitter” nonsense.
2008: Oh tomatoes, how you PISS ME OFF.
2007: No entry.
2006: Y’all are good for my yellow ego!
2005: Maine recap.
2004: Hawaii recap.
2003: Maine recap.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: The cats are suddenly deciding to take closed doors as a personal affront.

7/27/11 – Kitteh Wednesday

Gotta love a sleeping kitten! I always want to kiss Clove (and luckily she puts up with it!) Cilantro would like to know whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis? Ciara and the crazy eyes. Her favorite feather teaser, even though the feathers have been chewed off. Smackin’ at it (she chatters at it, too!) She knocked the … Continue reading “7/27/11 – Kitteh Wednesday”

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Gotta love a sleeping kitten!

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I always want to kiss Clove (and luckily she puts up with it!)

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Cilantro would like to know whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

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Ciara and the crazy eyes.

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Her favorite feather teaser, even though the feathers have been chewed off.

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Smackin’ at it (she chatters at it, too!)

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She knocked the door closed, and then was interested that someone was sticking their paw underneath the door.

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Sweet girl.

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Her other favorite teaser toy!

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“What ARE you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” (That’s Spanky.)

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2010: Like it’s a rule that if both vehicles are here SOMEONE BETTER BE HERE TO SELL HIM EGGS DAMNIT.
2009: I screamed at the top of my lungs, and then I took a gasping breath, and I screamed some more.
2008: No entry.
2007: (Unless there’s a secret “Robyn is a blithering idiot” message board somewhere, which is possible but – given that the world apparently does NOT revolve around me (even though it should), my blithering idiotness probably doesn’t occupy the minds of others the way it occupies mine.)
2006: I look like a fucking Simpson!
2005: “I dropped my purse!” I lied.
2004: I’m a slug in a family of energizer bunnies.
2003: No entry.
2002: My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts.
2001: No entry.
2000: I’m just not feeling very chatty today.

7/26/11 – Tuesday

Randomness: I thought I was going to get myself a pet sparrow this morning. I went out to pet Maxi, and was sitting on the top step. This little sparrow came so close to me – AND Maxi! – that I could have reached out and touched him. I had no food for him (and … Continue reading “7/26/11 – Tuesday”


I thought I was going to get myself a pet sparrow this morning. I went out to pet Maxi, and was sitting on the top step. This little sparrow came so close to me – AND Maxi! – that I could have reached out and touched him. I had no food for him (and the bird feeders are full), so I just watched him hop back and forth and eyeball my toes before he came to his senses and flew off.

I saw one single hummingbird last week. I was sitting at my computer and it hovered by the window, right in front of my face, giving me a meaningful look and tilting it’s head toward the side porch, all “Howzabout it, sister?” I filled and put up three hummingbird feeders (one at the side porch, two on the front porch) and haven’t seen another hummingbird since. They usually show up in early August, I think, so I guess I’ll keep the feeders filled with fresh hummingbird food so once they come around they’ll stay around for a while. I do love those hummingbirds.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before: I really like to go to the live camera at Abbey Road and watch the people go by. I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait longer than five minutes to see a person – or three – have their picture taken as they go across the crosswalk. It’s oddly mesmerizing.

Is there any American who married “royalty” more impressed with themselves than LuAnn De Lesseps? Because you know what you want more than anything is to marry a royal, here are her useless tips.For fuck’s sake. (Tip #8: swear as often and as colorfully as possible.)

Why do people insist on talking on their cell phones in public bathrooms? And then give you a dirty look when you use the hand drying machine to dry your hands? People are assholes (she probably said the same about me!)

Fred called Elwood “L Ron Chubbard” last week and we both laughed until we cried.

Speaking of laughing ’til I cry, have you heard of the Talking Tom app? I need to figure out how to turn these into ringtones.

A few weeks ago, someone pulled into the driveway. When I went out to see who it was, a man got out of a truck and came over to the bottom of the side stoop.

“Did you want eggs?” I said.

He looked at me and thought about it for a long moment, then opened his mouth and earnestly said “Yeff.”

“I… I’m sorry?” I said.

He looked out toward the chickens and said it again. “Yeff?”

“I….” I began, then just stopped and stared at him.

Another guy stuck his head out the truck window and bellowed “EGGS!”

I still don’t know what he was trying to say with “Yeff,” but he ended up with a dozen (“one pack” is what our non-English speaking customers ask for; they’ll occasionally ask for “twelve” but never say “dozen” or even the Spanish word for dozen, docena. According to Fred’s niece’s husband, that’s because docena is like slang and perhaps isn’t in regular usage in Hispanic communities. I’d be interested in any input anyone out there has on the topic, because I find it interesting.)

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I got a ton of pictures yesterday, but now I’m having issues getting the pictures off the camera. So y’all don’t have to go without kitty pics, I’m going to post some random foster pics and I promise I’ll provide you with new ones tomorrow!

Awww, it’s Peter Brady!

Tiny scaredy-cat Alice.

Cindy Bwady.

Gus and his floof!

More Gus!

Dorfy, clearly stressed.

Starsky and Hutch.

Martin, after his bath.

Pancho and his “Glamour Shots” pose.

Garrity, cracking a joke.

Wee baby Corbie!

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Newt, in 2008. Don’t you want to kiss his silly little face?

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2010: Apparently I’ve got food on my mind this morning.
2009: And no one was even drinking!
2008: No entry.
2007: I think y’all know that I happily contribute to charities and have donated to a lot of your causes and will continue to do so, but I don’t support Blogathon, haven’t for a couple of years, and don’t intend to in the future.
2006: I may have Hepatitis.
2005: But not to worry, it was just cramps. Whew!
2004: I want to rip her goddamn fucking ::fliiiip::TAP::TAP::TAP::FLIIIP::TAP::TAP::TAP::FLIP::TAP::TAP::TAP::FLIP::TAP::TAP::TAP:: head off her stupid fucking goddamn neck
2003: No entry.
2002: I caught the eye of one of them, who noticed my intensely guilty terrorist-like face, and waved me over to wand me down.
2001: No entry.
2000: Because, you know, my life is so damn chaotic. Yeah.

7/25/11 – Monday

So, you remember the whole thing where I found a Brown Recluse in the house a few weeks ago and Fred ran around in circles clutching his pearls and spraying every surface of the house with spider-killing spray in hopes that he’d kill the 30,000 Brown Recluses in the house before they could find him … Continue reading “7/25/11 – Monday”

So, you remember the whole thing where I found a Brown Recluse in the house a few weeks ago and Fred ran around in circles clutching his pearls and spraying every surface of the house with spider-killing spray in hopes that he’d kill the 30,000 Brown Recluses in the house before they could find him and take a big juicy bite out of his butt?

Well, the other thing we did was to buy a bunch of glue traps online. When they arrived, Fred set about 20 of them up in various spots through the house. He put them in closets and under furniture.

At this point, three weeks later, we have caught no spiders at all. We did catch one Tom Cullen, but since his bites aren’t poisonous we removed him from the trap (or rather, the trap from him) and let him live.

Fred was telling his father about our Brown Recluse travails, and his father said that they’d used glue traps and never caught a single Brown Recluse with them. (The glue traps supposedly have some sort of attractant in the glue that will, uh, attract spiders to them.)

Fred has told me many times that his father and stepmother had a big problem with Brown Recluses in their house – in Fred’s teenage bedroom, as a matter of fact. So when his father told him they’d never caught a single Brown Recluse with the glue traps, Fred was confused.

“But wait,” he said to his father. “I remember coming over and using the bathroom off that bedroom and seeing traps that had a TON of Brown Recluses on them!”

As it turned out, the Brown Recluses that Fred saw stuck to the glue traps? They hadn’t wandered there of their own volition. Fred’s father told him that what he’d do was wait until after dark, when no one had been in the room for a while. Then he’d go in and turn the light on, and I’m imagining a herd of Brown Recluses, frozen in surprise as light floods the room.

But you’re wondering, I’m sure, how oh how did the Brown Recluses make it onto the glue traps? Did they think they were seeking refuge on the glue traps? Were they running to the glue traps to hide until such a time that the big human would turn the light off and leave the room so they could wander at will in the dark with no one to watch and judge them?

No. What would happen, after Fred’s father went into the room and surprised the colony of Brown Recluses, is that he would use a ruler to HERD the Brown Recluses onto the glue traps. Where they would get stuck and die while (in my imagination) Fred’s father stood over them and laughed evilly.

He would herd the Brown Recluses onto the glue traps.

I’m sorry, perhaps you didn’t hear me. Let us run through the sequence of events: he’d walk into a dark room and turn on the light. And there would be a thousand Brown Recluses, all frozen like “Shit! Y’all don’t move! If we don’t move, he can’t see us!” Then, where you or I might be all ::stompity::stomp::stomp::stomp:: with our shoe-covered feet (one shouldn’t stomp Brown Recluses unless one is wearing shoes, I imagine. A little tip from me to you. You can also squoosh a Brown Recluse with a litter scoop. If you were wondering. Or so I’ve heard. Not that I’ve had any experience with such a thing.), Fred’s father would pick up a ruler and patiently herd the spiders, one by one, to their last moments of life atop the glue trap.

I like to imagine that one of the Brown Recluses managed to make it look like he was firmly stuck to the glue trap but only had ONE leg stuck there, and that these days wherever the Brown Recluses (they’re reclusive spiders, those Brown Recluses, they’re not Brown Sociables) hole up, there are young spiders yelling “Oh god, Grampa’s talking about how he escaped the Evil Glue Trap Herder by leaving a leg behind AGAIN. RUN!”

(I do not intend to take up Brown Recluse herding, for the record, not least because I’ve only ever found the one BR in the house. If things change and I decide to start training for the annual Brown Recluse Herding Championship, I’ll let you know.)

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In my little raised garden, at the beginning of the summer, I put some feed bags down on the ground so that I could put the pots where I’d planted various herbs on top of the feed bags and wouldn’t have to worry about cutting the grass growing around the pots (since there wouldn’t be any grass growing, I mean). Over the weekend, I decided to pull them up, because the bags were getting shredded and had holes in them, and grass and weeds were growing up through the holes anyway. It looked like shit, and was bugging me, so I decided to put down fresh bags, move the potted herbs over near the raised beds, and call it good enough.

When I pulled up one of the feed bags, I caught sight of a small bit of red, and I knew immediately what I’d found. There, with a body the size of the tip of my pinky, was a big fat dead Black Widow. I poked it with a stick ’til it was good and squished (I wanted to be sure it was dead) and then I pushed it into the ground and covered it with a bit of dirt.

(I bet a Black Widow tree will totally sprout in the next few days. I don’t know what the fruit on a Black Widow tree would look like, but I imagine it’s some evil-looking shit.)

I don’t ever work in the garden or pick veggies unless I’m wearing gardening gloves to protect my hands, so even if it had been alive, and even if it had gotten on me, I would have been okay.

But still – ::shudder:: It’s funny, because I’m scared more by Black Widows than by Brown Recluses, even though Brown Recluse bites can do more damage. Black Widows are just EVIL looking (also, they’re more aggressive than Brown Recluses. The Brown Recluse hangs out in the corner at a party saying “I’ll just be over here, don’t look at me pls, thx.” whereas the Black Widow’s all “I SAW YOU LOOKING AT ME I WILL FUCK YOU UP!”)

You can do your own Google search on this topic, but I will tell you that there are people out there who keep Black Widows as PETS, and the thought just makes me shudder. Gah.

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First, the good news: Fergus Simon was adopted on Saturday!

And then the OTHER good news: MAGGIE WAS, TOO!!!!

(They didn’t go to the same home. But I think they’ll be just fine!)

The fact that Maggie was adopted just makes me SO happy. At this time of year there are so many kittens that the adults often get overlooked, and I was concerned that that would happen with Maggie. I’m so glad that it didn’t, and that she’s gone to a good home where she will be loved and pampered. Yay!!!

So we’ve still got Ciara with us, of course, and the Spice Girls. They’ll all be going to Petsmart when there’s room, but it will likely be a little while yet. I hate that they’ll be going, but this is really my favorite time with fosters: they’re all past their shots and surgeries, they’re happy and healthy and are having no issues, so all we have to do is enjoy them! It’s a rough job, but I think we’ll manage.

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Those of you who don’t remember – or who haven’t been reading long enough to have read about it – I did write about what was going on with Corbie back in March, but I’ll cut and paste what I wrote then, so you don’t have to go back and read it:

So I haven’t told you exactly what’s going on with Corbie – don’t worry, it’s not bad! It’s just that he’s a thin cat, and in the past couple of months, we’ve noticed that from the waist up (not that cats have waists, but you know what I mean) he looks perfectly fine. But from the waist back, he looks like he’s starving to death. Which he’s NOT, let me tell you, boyfriend can eat when he wants to.

He also has this kind of knock-kneed thing going on that’s hard to explain – he walks fine, but his back two legs kind of go one in front of the other. I originally mistakenly told Fred that Corbie was bowlegged, which triggered a memory, and I thought “What if he has cerebellar hypoplasia?”, but I went and read about it, and watched some videos, but that’s not it. He also can’t really jump – he can get up on the couch if he wants to, but that’s by pulling himself up by his claws rather than jumping. Though he can jump from one surface to another – he jumps from the table next to my recliner, to the back of my recliner – if they’re roughly the same height, but he just can’t jump UP.
This is not something that was going on when he was little – we would have noticed it. It’s something that has come on gradually as he’s grown. I took him to the vet. She looked him over, took some blood, and then took an x-ray.

Structurally, he’s okay. He’s got a perfect skeleton (and have you seen x-rays of cats? Aren’t they just the neatest things?). The vet called and told me that his blood looked okay, but he had an elevated level of… something (my notes on the topic are hiding in my desk somewhere and I don’t want to go looking for them) and long story short, we should try giving him Taurine and L-Carnitine to build up the muscles in his back end.

Then, of course, I went off and had surgery. About a week and a half later, I remembered about the Taurine and L-Carnitine and I went online and looked around to see what I could find for supplements. There are these treats that have the right amounts of Taurine and L-Carnitine in them, but we’d have to give four treats, twice a day, to Corbie and that seemed like an awful lot to get him to eat, especially considering that we didn’t know if he was going to like the taste. So we ordered L-Carnitine in powder form and Taurine in capsules, with the intention of sprinkling them atop a scoop of Gerber chicken baby food and letting Corbie eat it.

Well, the problem was that to make sure Corbie was the only one ingesting it, Fred had to take him into the guest bedroom. Being locked in the guest bedroom freaked Corbie out, and he wouldn’t touch the stuff. We dithered about what to do for a few days, and then finally Fred just tried mixing the powder with water and shooting it in the back of Corbie’s mouth.

Corbie’s not crazy about it, but he handles it just fine. So he’s been on Taurine and L-Carnitine for about a week, morning and evening. Fred doesn’t think there’s any difference in Corbie, and he’s probably right, but to ME (you know, the woman who stalks Corbie relentlessly), he looks a bit bigger. A bit more muscular.

We’ll keep going with the supplements and see how it goes. It’d be nice if this took care of the issue – though I need to check with the vet and see if this will be a lifelong thing or if we can discontinue the supplements after a while. Whatever the issue is, I can tell you that it hasn’t slowed Corbie down at all. He runs from one end of the house to the other just fine, he plays, he snuggles, he’s a happy boy.

He might have a skinny back end, but he’s perfect to me!

That’s what I was referring to in Friday’s entry – these days, we aren’t giving him the Taurine and L-Carnitine because it didn’t seem to make a difference, and it was getting to be a struggle (he was starting to run every time he saw Fred) and the stress to Corbie wasn’t worth it. He hasn’t improved, but he hasn’t gotten worse either, and whatever the issue is, it’s not interfering with his quality of life.

So that’s what that was about. 🙂

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Want your own “I love cats, it’s people who annoy me” gear? Go get that stuff here. Everything’s marked up by $2, which will go to Challenger’s House. (I’ll put a link in the sidebar at some point.)

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Don’t you just love Ciara’s dramatic eyeliner?

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Giving me the crazy eyes.

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“You keep on pettin’ ’til I say stop, lady.”

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Coriander on the cat tree.

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Clove’s orange patches are really starting to show.

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I have been a horrible slacker regarding snapping pictures of the Crooked Acres Gang (permanent residents), so here’s the very first picture I posted of Spanky on Flickr, from way back in 2005.

He was only (doing the math….) a young and spry eight and a half back then, but if you showed me that picture and told me it was taken yesterday, I’m pretty sure I’d believe you. At almost fifteen, he’s in great shape for an old guy!

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2010: No entry.
2009: Hello from Pennsylvania.
2008: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.
2007: Evan Rachel Wood! You are throwing away your youth and beauty on a talentless freak! You are wasting the pretty! Stop it right now, young lady!
2006: No entry.
2005: Home again, home again.
2004: I am a SUCKAH for the bullshit claims on bottles of lotion.
2003: Momma always said, stupid is as stupid does…
2002: No entry.
2001: Oh joy.
2000: I’m such a wimp that even a confrontation on TV ties my stomach in knots.

7/22/11 – Friday

What do you do with the dehydrated zucchini and squash? Do you just eat them that way? Sorry if this seems like a stupid question. I have about 5 zucchini sitting in my fridge and am going to make your over fried zucchini this weekend. That’s not a stupid question at all! Sometimes I eat … Continue reading “7/22/11 – Friday”

What do you do with the dehydrated zucchini and squash? Do you just eat them that way? Sorry if this seems like a stupid question. I have about 5 zucchini sitting in my fridge and am going to make your over fried zucchini this weekend.

That’s not a stupid question at all! Sometimes I eat the dehydrated zucchini and squash like chips – the squash, especially, is really good.

Usually, though, I saute dehydrated squash and zucchini in a little olive oil with some onion and dehydrated cherry tomatoes. We call it “vegetable medley.” I also made a test batch of scalloped squash with dehydrated squash and zucchini, and it was really good!

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Robyn, have y’all lost any chickens due to the heat? We belong to a CSA that’s based in Hohenwald, TN, and they were losing 300+ chickens a DAY due to the excessive heat. The chickens are free-range, and any time a predator (like a hawk) would show up, they would run, get over-heated, and just fall over dead. They’ve now have an employee whose only job on hot days is to ride back and forth with a water truck, misting the chickens to keep them cool. I had no idea chickens were so delicate!

We’ve been lucky, I guess – we haven’t lost any chickens to the heat. On particularly hot days I do have to go out around noon to make sure everyone has water (and even if they do, I empty and refill the waterers with cool water). I wonder if the chickens would like it if I went out with a spray bottle of water and misted them? I might have to try that!

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Have you ever tried the Genie Bra? I know you’ve written several times about your favorite bra. I’ve been thinking about buying a Genie Bra, and I’d love to hear if you or your readers have tried them and what you think about them

I’ve never tried the Genie Bra myself, and in fact had to Google around for information on it. I ended up here, and a lot of women have a lot of complaints about the Genie Bra, go check it out!

Readers? Anyone out there try the Genie Bra and have an opinion?

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Hey, I like how you have your oven mitts on the refrigerator. I have mine in a drawer where they take up waaaaaaay too much room. Where did you score that nice magnetic thing-y with the hooks? I mean, yeah, I could probably figure it out on my own but it would be so much easier if you would tell me where to go buy it. In fact, if you could just buy it for me and then drive it here to me in Maryland, that would be the easiest thing of all.

I honestly can’t remember where I got it (I’m thinking The Container Store, but I don’t have a receipt for it in my email anywhere, so that might be wrong), but you can get ’em at Amazon, here.

It is SO handy having them hanging on the fridge, because we have shallow drawers in the kitchen and the damn things wouldn’t all fit in one drawer.

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Robyn, I was reading an interesting article in National Geographic about growing/raising heirloom foods/breeds/varieties. The article has pics of chickens that made me think of you, Counting on Uncommon Chickens. I noticed the Orpingtons and the Gold Sebright reminds me of some of your chickens maybe? The Phoenix is gorgeous.

Those are some gorgeous chickens! The Gold Sebright looks a lot like our Golden Crested Polish (who we call The Rock Star), and we do have some Buff Orpingtons. We used to have a couple of Hamburghs – I called them “The Pigeons” because they looked like pigeons to me for some reason – and they were such light birds that they’d roost in the rafters of the chicken coop, far higher than any of the other birds. We had a Black Silkie, too, for a while, but now we only have the White Silkie, who is probably the best mother of all our hens.

The article discusses seed exchanges and how to grow heirlooms, again, you came to mind. Check it out: Grow your own heirlooms.

Thanks for the link!

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Invisible Cats. Thought you might like it!

You thought right – I had to immediately add it to my Google Reader!

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I have lurked FOR YEARS but have never commented but I had to let you know that my three year old loves looking at photos of cats so she always looks at your site with me… Now she wants me to “go and get Clove!”. I was also wondering, with all the cats you have had is there ever one that just got on your nerves like no other? I am keeping my brothers cat while he moves and fixes up his house and I have to tell you that back when I had four cats all four of them together didn’t get on my nerves like this cat. I am an animal lover and I feel so guilty, but I can’t wait until he leaves!

Oh, without a doubt there have been cats who get all over my nerves like that (and I typically respond by giving them more love because I feel so guilty!). I don’t think every animal lover is going to wholeheartedly love every animal – just like you’re not going to like every person you meet, you’re not going to love every animal. Just be glad that your brother’s cat will be going back to your brother instead of staying with you!

Give your daughter a kiss from Clove!

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Last night I dreamed that I went to get new tires and sat in the waiting area holding a sleeping kitten. It was Clove! Now that is a brilliant idea! Include adorable kitties available for adoption for people in waiting rooms to snuggle. I wouldn’t even mind waiting an hour for a 5 minute oil change then.

That is the BEST IDEA EVER. They need to have kitten waiting rooms EVERYWHERE!

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Please tell me that Cat-on-Top-of-Fridge is not going to…leap…down…to the…floor…!! (Although it’s been done here.)

No, she (that’s Stinkerbelle) usually jumps from the top of the fridge to the counter and then to the floor from there. If someone were chasing her, or she was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to see her beloved Tommy, she might jump from the fridge to the floor, but I think I’ve only seen that happen once or twice.

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How is the beautiful Corbie doing health-wise? He looks like he’s faring well, hopefully he’s only been improving all along!

Corbie is doing well – he’s not better than he was, but he’s also not worse than he was, he’s pretty much staying the same. We treated him with Taurine and L-Carnitine for 4 months, and there was no difference at all. We’ve stopped giving it to him, because it was stressing him out a lot and not making any difference.

Corbie was recently at the vet, and his opinion is that Corbie’s physical condition was caused by his mother being FIV positive (for those of you who weren’t reading at that time, Corbie and his brothers were found near Fred’s office. We trapped his mother and took her to the vet, and she was not only FIV positive, but also very ill; I had her euthanized.) Fred pointed out to the vet that Corbie was perfectly normal when he was a kitten, that it wasn’t until he was about a eight months old that we noticed something was going on, but the vet seems pretty convinced that the mother cat’s FIV status is what caused it. So who knows? I’m just glad that he’s getting around so well and that it’s not getting worse!

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I was trying to figure out what kind of spider that is, but I can’t see close up enough. It looks like it has a light-colored stripe down the cephalothorax and thorax, so it could be a baby grass spider. If it’s an adult, I have no idea.

I think it’s just a grass spider – all I know for sure is that it wasn’t a Black Widow or a Brown Recluse, thank god!

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All about Elwood.

My mom was over and walked past the computer and said… Why is that bear wearing a collar?


My goodness Elwood is a big kitty!!! He doesn’t look fat just like a big-boned kitty! :0) Maybe it’s just the pictures…

Let’s just say that he weighs one pound less than Tommy (Elwood’s 14 pounds) and Tommy carries his weight a lot better than Elwood does. He’s fat AND big-boned!

Elwood, I iz skeered of u!!!

Aww, don’t be skeered of the Elz. He looks mean and like he’d slap your mama and steal her cake, but in actuality he’s a big ol’ lovebug who has a sweet, squeaky purr. Just don’t squeeze his belly; he’s sensitive about his gut.

Elwood is gorgeous! And full of cattitude. What is that on his collar?

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That is the collar that goes to the in-ground fence around the back yard. If he gets too close to it, it beeps to warn him. If he keeps going, he gets a short zap from the collar. Most cats (Elwood included) only have to be zapped once (it doesn’t hurt them, but it does startle them unpleasantly). Most of the cats don’t need the collars because they are GOOD cats and don’t try to escape the back yard. Elwood, Kara, Tommy, and Sugarbutt, however, are naughty cats and must wear the collars. Which I personally hate, because I think the collars ruin otherwise perfectly nice pictures! But we’ve gotta keep ’em safe, whether they like it or not.

The Elwood box is the best box ever!! What is it from?

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That’s a shoebox with the lid attached. Elwood’s actually laying in the lid, and then the box part is behind him. There’s another box behind that, because I had gotten a couple of packages in the mail that day, and I usually toss them all in the kitchen and wait to see which one they’ll like before I take the others out to the garage.

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So do your fosters never come back from PetSmart? When mine go off I know if they don’t get adopted after a week or two (depending on how many cats/kittens the rescue has needing time in the adoption center) I’ll likely get them back for a bit. Makes it a little easier to send them off…even though I know the little kittens are likely going to be adopted sooner rather than later so probably won’t be coming back….

They do come back from PetSmart occasionally – if, after a few weeks, they aren’t adopted, then they can come back here for some R & R for a while before they get another try. We’re lucky that most of our fosters are adopted pretty quickly.

Back in 2007, we had a litter of five sisters who were five months old. I don’t know how many times those cats went to Petsmart and then came back, then went to Petsmart again. One of them, Elle, absolutely stole our hearts and the last time she went back to Petsmart, Fred and I agreed that if she wasn’t adopted within two weeks, we’d bring her home and make her ours. She was adopted the day after I took her back to Petsmart.

This is her:


Oh, look. A brown tabby. How shocking that I loved her, right? She’s on the list of our fosters who, if they are ever returned to Challenger’s House, we will likely snatch her up and keep her forever. One of my favorite videos is of her, sitting on a cat bed and kneading:

It cracks me up that Fred sounds like an old Southern lady when he says “Elleh Belleh!” (And yes, she was the original Ellie Belly!)

HG is another one on that list:


Basically, if Fred knows the kittens’ name by the time they leave us, that means they’re probably on that list. Four years after Elle was with us and three years after HG was here, he immediately recognizes their names and (most telling) even remembers that Elle was a brown tabby and HG was a tuxie.

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What is the watermelon sitting on?

That’s landscaping fabric. It helps protect against weeds (though you’re supposed to put something on the fabric to protect it from the sun) and this is the first year we’ve used the fabric and also the first year our watermelon and cantaloupe plants haven’t been swallowed up by weeds!

Do roosters get aggressive to the chicks if one is another male?

Roosters won’t get aggressive toward male chicks until they hit adolescence (for want of a better word). Since the last thing we need out there is more roosters, any chicks who turn out to be males will go off to freezer camp before it gets to be a problem.

And isn’t Maggie desexed? Can she still lactate?

Yep, she was spayed, but she kept on lactating until about 10 minutes before I took them off to Petsmart. In fact, I put a note on her cage telling the cleaners and adoption counselors that it was okay to let Maggie see her babies, but not to let them nurse. Five bucks says that if any kittens tried to nurse on her right now, she’d probably start lactating immediately.

Doesn’t unripe tomato taste “bluchh?” Must try some this summer.

I wouldn’t eat green tomatoes in slices the way we eat ripe tomatoes, but coated in a cornmeal/ flour/ parmesan coating and oven-fried, or cooked with spices and other vegetables, they are very, very good!

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Cilantro loves Joe Bob’s scratcher.

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Clove and her incredibly long arms.

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Sweet Miss Cori.

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“You woke me up for THIS?”

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Ciara shows off her stripes.

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Who, him? Oh, just some cat. Nothin’ special. Corbie, I think they call him. ::shrug::

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2010: Vacation pics.
2009: Dehydrating zucchini slices.
2008: It’s a rough life, but someone’s gotta live it.
2007: No entry.
2006: Maine facts.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: “Okay, first of all she wasn’t married to Frank Gifford, that was Kathie Lee, and secondly FRANK GIFFORD ISN’T DEAD!”
2002: “Hallo, Clarice,” he said.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.

7/21/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday

Sights from around Crooked Acres. Katherine asked if I’d take a picture of my watermelon with something next to it for size reference. I couldn’t think of what to use, so I went into the kitchen and looked around. That last one is the biggest watermelon we have at the moment. We, of course, do … Continue reading “7/21/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday”

Sights from around Crooked Acres.

Katherine asked if I’d take a picture of my watermelon with something next to it for size reference. I couldn’t think of what to use, so I went into the kitchen and looked around.

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That last one is the biggest watermelon we have at the moment. We, of course, do not know what kind of watermelon we’re growing, because we’re terrible gardeners and like to do everything in a flailing and disorganized manner. (That’s a Thomas Everything Bagel for size reference.)

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Oven-fried green tomatoes (using this recipe). We’ve been eating a lot of these lately.

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I’ve never seen the Wisteria (the vines crawling across the ground) as aggressive as it is this year.

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Wee eggplant.

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Definitely a Bhut Jolokia “Ghost” pepper.

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Sungold cherry tomatoes. I’m not having a lot of luck with the full-sized tomatoes this year (to be honest, I’ve never had a decent year with the full-sized tomatoes!), they’re all cracking due to uneven watering (blame Mother Nature for that!). Next year, I am growing ONE row of tomatoes and most of them are going to be Sungolds, because they’re our favorite!

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The pepper plants are happy.

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Corn’s getting tall – hopefully we get lots of corn this year (last year we didn’t).

In my experimental raised-bed garden:

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Carrots in the center, a potted Meyer Lemon tree in that pot, and in the back left catnip!

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Watermelon plants in the raised bed/ straw bale experiment. They seem happy, but I think next year I’m going to save my raised beds for herbs, and grow things like watermelons in the big garden.

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In the back yard, Fred dragged these pieces of the fallen tree in the back forty into the back yard (using the tractor). There are no cats in this picture, but they hang out there a lot. See the metal around the tree to the far left? Fred put that up so that the cats wouldn’t climb up into that tree and scare me to death.

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Blueberry bushes, getting bigger! And in the background, compost bins.

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Dehydrated zucchini and yellow squash.

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Butterfly in the chicken yard.

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George, you are such a slacker.

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One thing that brings them out from under the coop: snack time!

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George lets his Alabama roots shine through.

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“You haz a snack for me?”

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Keeping an eye on stuff.

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Remember the bagel I used up there for size comparison with the watermelons? The chickens found it tasty. They love their carbs.

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They also love tomatoes.

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Chicken George and her baby.

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“What are you DOING over there, kid?”

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Young Brahma hen.

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I think that black chicken in the front is absolutely gorgeous.

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The rooster keeping an eye on his wimmin.

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Mama and babies.

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The chickens have their own waterers, but of course they prefer the dogs’ water dishes.

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Is it just me, or does this look like a Charlie’s Angels pose?

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I always worry that they’ll figure out how to climb that gate.

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The good news is that Declan was adopted Tuesday evening! That leaves Maggie and Fergus Simon, and of course Ciara is still here with us. She’s going to just stay here with us until it’s time for the Spice Girls to go to Petsmart, and then she’ll go with them.

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Ciara shows her attitude.

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Ciara smiles.

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Vampire kitty is thirsty.

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Smilin’ Cori.

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All three Spice Girls, giving me attitude.

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Maxi likes to hang out by the tomato heap.

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2010: “Momma! Momma! MOMMAAAAAA!”
2009: (Don’t answer that. Let me live in my dream world.)
2008: Out of curiosity – anyone still think we won’t eat those pigs?
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: Handwritten.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: Jemima J.

7/20/11 – Kitteh Wednesday

Coriander, Cilantro, and Clove had their spaying yesterday, and all went well. I usually don’t pick them up from the vet until after 5:00, but they were done early enough that I could pick them up and bring them home a couple of hours earlier. They were wide awake when I picked them up and … Continue reading “7/20/11 – Kitteh Wednesday”

Coriander, Cilantro, and Clove had their spaying yesterday, and all went well. I usually don’t pick them up from the vet until after 5:00, but they were done early enough that I could pick them up and bring them home a couple of hours earlier. They were wide awake when I picked them up and when I got home with them, I put them in the foster room and shut the door so they could eat and rest, but of course they didn’t rest – they ran around in there like little wild things. It amazes me how quickly they bounce back!

Sweet Cori, snoozing in her favorite spot.

And Clove, snoozing nearby.

That’s a 23 ounce bottle of water next to Cori, for size reference.

Cilantro at naptime (obviously before the spaying – she now has a shaved belly with a small scar).

I don’t know what Clove’s keeping an eye on. Probably Elwood. She has a little crush on him.

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Ciara would like you to know that she is, in fact, da bebbe.

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Jake always enjoys a good belly rub.

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2010: I hope it’s not a dog going after my other-dimensional chickens.
2009: I should have demanded a decorator’s fee.
2008: The last time I wore a bikini, I was around five, and I expect that unless I lose my mind, that’s the last time a bikini will come anywhere near my body.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: No entry.
2002: No entry.
2001: And then he looked at ME, like I was the instigator or something!
2000: “Where’s my food?! Where’s my FOOD, bitch?! I need fat, I need salt, I need sugar, and GIVE IT TO ME NOW, or I’ll drive you completely insane!”

7/19/11 – Tuesday

I usually regard those reminder calls from doctor’s offices as annoyances, because I’m (almost) always careful to keep track of my appointments in my Google Calendar, which is syncable (is so a word) to any number of the devices with which I’ve surrounded myself. I suppose the reminder calls do serve a purpose, though, because … Continue reading “7/19/11 – Tuesday”

I usually regard those reminder calls from doctor’s offices as annoyances, because I’m (almost) always careful to keep track of my appointments in my Google Calendar, which is syncable (is so a word) to any number of the devices with which I’ve surrounded myself. I suppose the reminder calls do serve a purpose, though, because the appointment I’d recorded as being on Wednesday is actually today.

Now if only I had any idea what the appointment is for. I remember going to see my doctor in January, and I remember her saying that we’d do a followup on… something… in six months. Which would be today, apparently. But for the life of me, I cannot remember what the hell the appointment’s for.

Probably the early-onset Alzheimer’s.

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When you wake up at 4 am and can’t get back to sleep, so you decide to just get the hell up and get started on the day and then you do laundry and clean the kitchen and take the ton and a half of recycling to the recycling center and then go to Walmart and then come home and vacuum the house and then clean all the floors in the downstairs, all that before noon, and then you have lunch, you know what the most awesome thing to do in the afternoon is?

The most awesome thing is to lay down on the couch intending to watch those Real Housewives of NJ and then snooze really really hard for about 20 minutes. Then you can wake up and watch the rest of the show, and guess what? You might have snoozed through a third of the show, but you didn’t miss a damn thing.

In case you were wondering.

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The Spice Girls are off to the vet for their spaying in a little while! Right now they’re still in the foster room (where we always put them at night), howling their little heads off and wondering where the food went. I suspect that tonight they’ll be racing around like nothing happened (or I suppose they might be a bit groggy, depending on what part of the day their operations take place). Then we get to just enjoy them until it’s time for them to go off to Petsmart!

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Cori don’t care ’bout no spayin’ nonsense.

Over the weekend, I was walking by the guest bedroom, and I glanced in and thought “Who the heck is that hanging out on the cat tree with Alice?” It was Cori, but for some reason the way the light was hitting her, she reminded me of Dorothy – I don’t know why, because her colors are nothing like Dorothy’s, so maybe it was just the way she was laying or something. Who knows?

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The many moods of Elwood.

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“You. Will. Bring. Me. Food. NOW.”

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Cute ‘n cuddly.

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2010: Now goddamn it, I OBJECT.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: Goddamn squirrels.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: No entry.
2002: OR I may have thought to myself, well, every author is entitled to a horrid piece of excrement or two.
2001: I’ve been packing in a desultory and lazy fashion this week, and have about half the upstairs done.
2000: I think if any of the kitties lose their mind and go on a human-throat-gnawing spree, it’ll be her.