So, last Wednesday night/ Thursday morning, we had a really scary storm with some very strong winds. Fred actually got up at midnight to go out and close the chicken coop so that it wouldn’t get wet inside (we usually leave the big door to the coop open at night so it can cool off a little. He hadn’t really expected it to rain so left it open.), and was so freaked out by how hard the trees were bending and creaking that he thought he was about to die.
We lost power a little after midnight, and it stayed off until 5:30. Which isn’t so bad, except that without the air conditioner running AND without the ceiling fan going, I got pretty warm and miserable. That was of course the exact time that the hottest cats in the house (Miz Poo, Elwood and Tommy) wanted to be RIGHT on top of me, which didn’t help matters.
When I got up at 6:00, our internet was down. Then it came back up for about half an hour ’til we got another strong storm. The power flickered on and off about 7 times, and when it came back on for good, the internet was down and stayed down. We didn’t get internet back until late afternoon on Friday, and since we get our phone through the cable line, the phone was down as well. In addition, the cell signal was going down and coming back up constantly, so you can imagine how thrilled I was.
Thank god for McDonald’s and their free internet.
We didn’t lose any trees, only a lot of branches. We did lose several tomato plants, but that’s not a big deal since we planted way too many of them this year. We were lucky once again, so I’m not complaining.
I’d happily wait ’til next Spring for another bout of really bad weather, though, if it’s all the same to you, MOTHER NATURE.
Are you sure that is a wilting hydrangea? I am a complete hydrangea fan and I do not recognize the leaves. If it is a hydrangea (love them as I can root them myself, they love shade and bring late summer fall color.) put it in a shady area and water it madly. They are hardy plants that root quickly.
That’s an Oakleaf Hydrangea that Fred’s father and stepmother gave us. I think it’s been two years (possibly three) since we planted it, and it’s finally starting to do well. The problem is that I often forget it’s even there until it acts all drama queeny (okay, to be fair, we hadn’t had any rain in quite a while!) and then I have to carry buckets of water from the back yard to water it. I’d love to have a whole shade garden in that area (it gets zilch for sun), but the closest water spigot is in the back yard. Hmm. Maybe Fred’s winter project should be running a sprinkler to that part of the property!
Have you tried that super cool device called an Eye-Fi to transfer your photos. Basically it comes with a reader and a card. You install the software and from then on, whenever you take a picture it automatically uploads from your camera to your hard drive.
I would dearly love to use an Eye-Fi to transfer my pictures, but sadly the Sony DSLR-A100 isn’t supported by the Eye-Fi. Which means, if you ask me, that I need a new camera.
Saw this trick on Rachael Ray to slice a large quantity of cherry tomatoes in half: The Cherry Tomato Trick
Thank you so much for the tip! It certainly beats having to slice the damn things in half one by one – I’m going to give that trick a try!
For what it’s worth (and I have a feeling I may have shared this with you before), we use a turkey fryer filled with water to cook the corn we’re freezing. We set it up outside, and it keeps the kitchen from getting miserably hot and humid. It also reheats very very fast, so you’re not standing around waiting for the water to boil again.
That does sound familiar! We don’t, unfortunately, have a turkey fryer but I almost think it would be worth buying one just to deal with the damn corn.
Robyn, did you know cats luuurrrvve cantaloupe?
Do the cats know that they luuurrrvve it? Because I can’t seem to get any of ours to show any interest. Which is too bad, because we’re growing a lot of cantaloupe. Fred better get to eatin’.
We have had 2 Wolf spiders in our apartment. The first one was found 4 months after we moved in and was dead. I pretty much lost my shit when I found it dead on the kitchen floor. The lights weren’t on and I at first thought it was a hairball from one the cats. Never wished so hard for a hairball in my entire life after finding out what it really was. The second one was found ALIVE in our bedroom. Yes, bedroom, just as I was getting ready to go to bed. Almost stayed in a motel. I was convinced that those bastards were living in my boxspring. Our backyard is a huge expanse of woods, and we get every kind of bug, spider, critter that you can imagine. Lots of many different kind and size of spider. I hate that f’n woods!
You know what really creeps me out about the Wolf spider? The eyes. The EYES are so friggin’ creepy, I can’t even stand it. ::shudder::
Have you realized that there is now evidence that the spiders are smarter than dear Tom Cullen? Shh, don’t tell him, he would be hurt if he knew.. And he is black like the spiders, too. Does this mean that he is Spiderman?
They’re smarter than Elwood, too, as I found Elwood flapping toward the back door one day last week, stopping every few steps to kick his front left paw around in hopes of dislodging the spider glue trap. I peeled it off for him, and he was completely ungrateful.
He’s no Spiderman, he’s CullenMan! (And I’ll see if I can’t find the Spiderman and send him on some new adventures, Sofia.)
That show about the Cat House on the Kings is on the National Geographic channel this evening. What an awesome place.
I set up the DVR to record it as soon as I heard it was coming on. That is one amazing place, and she is one amazing woman! I imagine that you’d never wonder where you stood with her, would you?
I’d LOVE to see a regular series about that place.
Since you and Nance are BFF’s where has she been? She hasn’t posted in her blog since june, am worried and going through withdrawal pains. I love her writing and miss her terribly. Can you pretty please tell her to get back to writing 🙂
Nance has been working hard and hanging out with her family. She’s just fine, and I imagine she’ll be back when she feels the urge to post again.
Thought of you when I heard this news bc I am also a Lee Child fan. HOW is Tom Cruise (short, smarmy) going to play Jack Reacher (tall, taciturn)? All of my fantasies are now RUINED!
Oh, it is absolutely horrifying that Tom Cruise is going to play Jack Reacher. He is the LAST actor in all of Hollywood (except maybe Danny DeVito) who fits that role. UGH. Just wrong, wrong, WRONG.
Big spider attacks daddy
If Fred thinks black widows don’t come in the house…tell him WRONG. The first few years I was in this house (and it was a brand new house) I had black widows in the garage and in the house. I went to get in the shower one morning and just as I started putting my naked self in the tub, I looked down to see a black widow in the tub. I killed it with foaming bathroom cleaner and then I showered for the next week in my hall bath. They eventually died out. Haven’t seen one in years, but have seen mostly those damn ugly creep grass spiders and several weeks ago I saw a house centipede and declared that if it was any more than 8 legs I hated it and that was the creepiest and FASTEST bug I’ve ever seen. Ick!
If y’all think I am breathing ONE word to Fred about the fact that Black Widows do come into the house, you are flat out NUTS. He once told me that the first time he sees one in the house is the last time he’ll see one in the house, because he’ll move out immediately. I cannot imagine what his reaction truly would be if he saw that tell-tale red hourglass in the house!
My UPS guy rings the bell and then runs – not like I live in Graceland or anything, but I never get to the door before he has left.
After bitching about the UPS guy, I want to take a moment to say that I love the hell out of my FedEx guy. He is super awesome, friendly and does a fantastic job. In fact, I think I’m going to send a letter to FedEx expressing that very thought.
(I did finally get Fred’s birth certificate, but I had to go to the main UPS place to pick it up. I think you can imagine how happy I was about that.)
You can go read Elayne’s whole comment here (and Arizona Robin’s follow-up, here), but to summarize: buy commercial-grade appliances and don’t be suckered in by the pretty, cool-looking stuff! Which makes sense, right? Here’s my problem and the reason why so far the only vacuum that has worked for me in this house is the Dyson: we have area rugs, and I need a vacuum that will work well on both rugs and hardwood floors. Every vacuum I’ve tried (except for the pain-in-the-ass Kenmore, which I switch out between the rug attachment and the hardwood attachment) tosses litter around, except for the Dyson.
Last Thursday, when our internet was down for the entire day, Woot had refurbished Dysons on sale for $199. I totally would have bought one to get me through while I’m saving up for a Miele (I think. I haven’t completely decided.), but our internet stayed down all freakin’ day long. Maybe this is a sign that I’m not meant to buy another Dyson, you think?
I have a food dehydrator, but I’m afraid to use it. I’m worried that I won’t leave stuff in long enough and then it will mold when I store it. How do you know how long to leave stuff in and how do you know its dry enough when that time has come?
Your dehydrator should have come with a book that you can reference, but if it didn’t, you can Google “How long to dehydrate [whatever]” and get your answer. I leave food in the dehydrator until it’s dry and brittle (it doesn’t hurt to check what you’re dehydrating every so often), but if you’re not sure whether you’ve dried your food long enough, you can put it in a glass jar or plastic container for storage and check it after a while. If there’s still moisture in the food, you’ll see condensation on the glass (or plastic), and you can take the food out and put it back in the dehydrator for more time.
Foods like sliced squash dehydrate pretty quickly, in a matter of hours, whereas foods like tomatoes and fruits take longer. It generally takes a day and a half to two days for a dehydrator full of cherry tomatoes to be done, for instance.
Robyn, isn’t the 6 mos anniversary of your lift surgeries next week? Do you think we could get an update on that? Especially pics of your arms? Pretty please?
Yeah, I’ll try to get pictures at some point this week.
Oh! I forgot to ask a question about cats. My daughter has a cat that is about 6 years old and just recently he’s been getting eye infections and has been on an antibiotic drop but it doesn’t seem to work for long. Clears it up and within a month it comes back. Her hours at work have really been cut so she’s hoping to treat the problem without going to the vet. Last time it cost her $125.00 and money is super tight right now. Is there anything else she could try.
My only suggestion is that perhaps she could call the vet and get the drops without the office visit – or even ask if there’s a less expensive option as far as antibiotic drops go. The concern here, actually, is that if the eye infection comes back after a month, it doesn’t seem that the drops are really taking care of the infection and that there might be something else going on?
Anyone else out there have any tips?
The pigs are growing fast, how much longer before they meet the butcher.
The pigs will be going off to freezer camp in October or November. They’re getting big, but they’ve still got plenty of growing to do.
As large as your kitchen is have you ever considered an island for additional counter space? There are islands that are on wheels so they can be positioned as needed.
Oh, I’d love to have an island in the kitchen – it’s on my mental “I-want” list, which is about six miles long. At one point, Fred was going to make one for me, but he’s decided he’s no carpenter, so I’ve set my sights lower, for a small island where I can stand and chop things or roll out dough or even just put jams to cool. Every now and then I check Craig’s List to see if anyone’s wanting to get rid of an island like that, but HOOO DOGGIE do some people overprice their shit on Craig’s List.
(Side note: I HATE IT when people list shit on Craig’s List and don’t post a picture of whatever they’re selling. What is this, 1998?)
One of my cats is the wierdest nip-head I’ve ever seen. He rubs his chin on it over and over while DROOLING copious amounts, and as a result his entire face and neck and chest end up plastered down, completely saturated with drool. Does any of your crew do the drool thing??
No, no ‘nip droolers here. Most of them roll around in it, but Spanky treats the ‘nip like a meal. You put a leaf of fresh or a small pile of dried catnip down in front of him, and he eats what’s there. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t know that he actually gets high off of it (not all cats do), maybe he just considers it a snack.
Can you explain catnip to me? I must be mistaken, but it seems like giving them drugs, which of course, you wouldn’t want to do to children, so why is it ok for cats? I probably sound like an idiot.
You know, I don’t know that I can explain cat nip, really. They do get high off of it, but it’s a short high – they’re not high for hours and hours, it’s more a matter of a few minutes, and then they go about their day. It’s a mood-altering drug in that some cats get mellow on catnip and others get mean (we call Miz Poo our “mean drunk”). It’s not – at our house – really a regular thing. We give them catnip from time to time, but they’re not following us around demanding it, and if they go weeks without it they don’t go into withdrawals. We don’t have to send them to rehab, though I do occasionally sing “They tried to make me go to ‘nip-hab and I said meow, meow, meow” to them.
So in conclusion, um, I don’t know. It’s a drug, but I don’t think it does any damage to them (although I just realized that we have plenty of catnip toys around here, so maybe we DO have some addicts and I just don’t know it!).
Of course, we’d never let them drive when they’ve been ‘nipping. 🙂
Did the tornado and storms that happened a while back not have a major effect on your garden?
They did! The water washed away almost everything we’d just planted, and we had to replant. A few things popped back up (some of the pepper plants and one or two tomato plants), but for the most part we ended up about a month behind due to having to replant. We are in the process of pulling up the squash plants as they die one by one (vine borers got them – they do every year, no matter what we do), and we really didn’t get nearly as much squash as I would have liked. We’ve always had to force summer squash and zucchini on friends and family in previous years, but this year we ate or dehydrated every single one we got. I wish we’d gotten more, but I’m glad we got what we did. I think the tomatoes are doing so well due to how unrelentingly hot it’s been this summer. The cherry tomatoes are doing especially well, and I’ve been dehydrating like mad!
I have never heard of Rescue Remedy, and I think I may be giving it a try. Do you know anything about GNC Ultra Mega Relax?
No, I’ve never heard of GNC Ultra Mega Relax. Anyone out there given it a try? Do tell!
Just out of curiosity, whatever happened to Ike, the teeny little orange? I think he was orange? Temporary fosterling who was so sweet and purry? I know he was fostered by another Challenger’s House person after he left you, but he must’ve been adopted by now, right? For that matter, what happened to the two little brother and sister kittens, Sootie and Sweepie I think? that you were temporarily watching?
Awww, wee baby Ike:
It’s been almost two years since he was here, can you believe that? He was only here for a couple of days. He was originally going to go to the shelter because at that time the shelter manager had room for him, and she was going to care for him. So I left him at the vet, where she was going to pick him up, but then another Challenger’s House foster mum, Heaven, happened along first and snatched him up for herself. And, as it turned out, she ended up keeping him as a permanent resident!
Also, Sooty and Sweepie:
Their story is that a momma cat abandoned two 11 day-old kittens on a woman’s back patio. She was okay with keeping them, but she had a job during the day and needed a babysitter! So I babysat them a couple of times, and then her father in Texas got very ill, and she opted to surrender the kittens to Challenger’s House. I kept them here for a few days, but we were pretty full up on fosters (at that point we had the Cookies and the Wonkas), so Heaven took these guys, too (it was about two months after Ike came through). She fostered them ’til they were big and strong, and then they were adopted out through the adoption center at Petsmart. I think they were adopted together, but I can’t guarantee it.
I know we all love a cat that is all bowed up and pissed off, but have you seen this? I love how it actually walks out of the shot on two back paws! LOL It made me laugh so hard I wheezed. Enjoy!
Love it!! I sure wish I knew what got that reaction because I would TOTALLY be trying it myself!
Does Clove ever canoodle with Corbie or Kara? That would be a lot of brown-tabby bliss.
I’m sure that Clove would happily canoodle with Corbie or Kara, but Kara is very much NOT a canoodler (she has no use for other cats at all, except that she can sometimes be seen butting heads with Jake or Elwood) and Corbie doesn’t canoodle much either… he’ll allow Jake and Elwood to rub against him when they’re feeling friendly, but there’s no snuggling when it comes to the Corbs.
So, to be nosy, does Fred love the kettehs as much as you, or does he just love you awfully much??
Whereas I love and adore teeny tiny kittens, Fred thinks that the little bitty ones are “boring” (his word, not mine!) and he prefers them when they hit their ridiculously long and lanky stage, which is where the Spice Girls and Ciara are right now.
But to answer the question, Fred loves cats as much as I do. I don’t know that he’d necessarily choose to have so many fosters at once, but I ALWAYS ask him before I take a second litter of fosters and I ALWAYS tell him “You can say ‘no’, and I won’t be mad!”, but nine times out of ten he doesn’t even hesitate before he says it’s okay with him. He said once that when we have a lot of fosters in the house, he feels like Scrooge McDuck, only instead of gold coins falling through his fingers, he’s got kittens.
Is Alice still in love with her Daddy? Or have the sullen teen years crept in?
Oh, she still loves him with a deep and abiding passion. She shows her love for him by climbing into his lap every night when we’re watching tv, and getting her butt as close to his face as she possibly can. And then she lays there and purrs and gives him the eyes of love. She shows me affection, too (especially if I’m in the kitchen and she thinks I might give her food), but Fred’s first and foremost in her heart.
I don’t know what it is, but Kara is one of the prettiest cats ever. I think it’s something about her face.
You may have already answered this, but I’m a tiny bit of a SKIMMAH. What do you use the dehydrated veggies for? I’m imagining you make sauce with the tomatoes, right? Can you use the squash for casserole or in other veggie dishes? Do you have to soak them first or anything?
I use the squash, zucchini and tomatoes (and usually some okra from the freezer) to make what we call “vegetable medley” – I saute it all in some olive oil. I don’t rehydrate any of it, because it rehydrates well enough in the pan (I sometimes add a little broth to the pan to help matters along). I’ve actually never used the tomatoes to make sauce, but maybe I’ll give that a try this winter! Oh, I also tested the dehydrated squash by making scalloped squash with it, and it turned out really good.
I like to toss a handful of shredded zucchini and dehydrated cherry tomatoes into spaghetti sauce and let it simmer for a while, too.
Also can you recommend a brand of dehydrator? I’d really like to dry my own fruit, but I’m not sure which dehydrator isn’t a colossal waste of money.
We have an Excalibur 2500 (which I told someone back in June that they don’t sell anymore, but I just checked Amazon and they do, so I’m not sure if they stopped selling them and started again, or what). This is, I think, the 4th year I’ve used it, and I haven’t had a single problem with it. Some summers I’ve used it more than others (I don’t think I dehydrated hardly anything last year), and it’s worked perfectly.
If that’s more than you want to spend, I’ve heard that the Nesco brand dehydrators are less expensive, and you can buy trays to add, if you need to.
Also the second, are you having any trouble keeping up the garden(s) with watering restrictions? Here in Texas we’re in extreme drought conditions and have some pretty severe restrictions. I’m having a hard time keeping my landscaping plants alive at this point.
We are actually not under any watering restrictions right now (and weren’t even before we got all that rain last week). When it’s dry, we water the vegetable garden a couple of times a week with drip hoses (about 25 – 30 minutes per row). We don’t have much landscaping to worry about other than the plants in pots on the front porch and the Azaleas and Hydrangeas in the front flower beds. The potted plants get watered twice a week (I have a one-gallon watering can, and filling it twice gives me enough water for the potted plants) and the front flower beds only get watered if I notice the Hydrangeas wilting – lately, that’s about once a week.
We do actually have a well. It’s not working – wasn’t working when we bought the house – but it’s on our miles-long list of stuff-to-do-someday, to get the well working so that we can, at least, water the garden with it.
(Regarding Stinkerbelle) She looks to me to be a standard calitabby, black and orange with white, but she also has the pointed gene (to give the blue eyes). This will make the colors fade on the body, especially in hotter weather. On a standard siamese, the face tail and legs pale a little on the extremities to give the seal-brown, while the body fades to a light or dark cream color. On Stinkerbelle, the calico spots fade in a like manner – a bit on the head, and more on the body. So I guess the official term would be tortie-point with white.
I’m going to go add that description to her page right now, because I have a terrible memory when it comes to this stuff, and I know we’ve had discussions in the past about what Stinkerbelle is. This way, I’ll know where to look when I’m wondering in the future (if, y’know, I remember that I added it!)
Do kittens react to the catnip or do they have to be a certain age to care for it?
According to this page, Very young and senior cats do not respond as much, or at all, to catnip. Also, 10-30% of the cat population does not respond to catnip at all, at any age. This is due to genetics — reactions to catnip are hereditary. Some cats are genetically “programmed” to respond to catnip, some aren’t.
I have a question for you. Have you ever brought in a cat that was not accepted by the others. We rescued a cat last fall that was malnourished and had a bad infection from a collapsed eye. We introduced her as we always do, keeping her in a room and letting the others get to know her through the door. We have three others, two females and a very spoiled alpha male. None of them has accepted her. The one female tolerates her but avoids her when possible. The other female hisses and bats at her all the time [although she never gets close enough to make contact.] The male will lick her one minute and chase her the next. He was aggressive so many times that she doesn’t trust him and even when he appears to be playing she takes the defensive. She use to sleep with my husband until Willie let her know the bedroom is his domain. Now she sleeps under the chair unless one of us is around and she is glued to our lap. Will they ever accept her?
For some reason, the other cats in the house don’t care for Joe Bob. I don’t understand why that is – when he was our foster when we lived in Madison, he and Sugarbutt and Tommy were the best of friends. They played together, they snuggled up for naps, they loved each other. When he joined the family two(ish) years later as a permanent, none of the other cats liked him. I don’t know why that is, he’s the sweetest cat on earth, but they just don’t like him. For the most part they don’t actually physically fight (anymore), but they all have room to spread out in the house, and everyone has their favorite spot in which to hang out. (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes Spanky will follow Joe Bob around and glare at him. He doesn’t start a fight with Joe, and he never gets very close to him, but he does follow him and just sits and glares at him. We call him Creepy Cousin Spanky when he acts like that.)
I didn’t have much in the way of advice for you, but Doodle Bean had some great advice (thanks, Doodle Bean!):
I have had two for 12 years, and they’ve never really gotten along. They don’t fight that much anymore, so that is something.
Things that have helped: making sure there are more than enough litterboxes. The rule of thumb is one for each cat plus one. I have four for my two cats. Three just wasn’t enough. I also feed them within sight of each other, so they associate each other with something good. I give them catnip in different rooms, however, because that drug tends to lead to fights. In good weather, I make sure I have at least two windows open, otherwise there are fights for windowsill space.
Also, I make sure that I pay extra attention to each one individually during the day. Sweetpea *loves* to be brushed, so that’s what I do. Fuzz loves to go for walks (on leash), so I take him for daily walks. That seems to help the jealousy. When they seem mellow, I will give them treats together, making sure to pet them equal amounts. Finally, I set up elevated beds for each one in the rooms I spend the most time in. Sweetpea likes soft beds, so she has elevated soft beds. Fuzz doesn’t like soft beds, so he has an elevated cardboard boxes on which to snooze. Since Sweetpea likes boxes but doesn’t like sleeping on cardboard, there is absolutely no conflict over beds.
They seem to have worked out a lot themselves. Sweetpea owns the bed, but allows Fuzz to jump up on it for morning pets. Fuzz owns the back door and basement door areas and Sweetpea doesn’t care. Sweetpea owns the living room, but lets Fuzz walk through it. Fuzz owns the kitchen and Sweetpea is scared of the kitchen (long story). They share the food and water area and the bathroom when I’m in it.
I wish they were buddies, but I’ve settled for lack of fighting and tension. Hope this helps with your crew.
Okay, now it’s time to properly meet the Peppers! (If you missed it, I posted an entry on Saturday that you might want to go check out.)
The story behind the names is a simple one. Back in June, I was reading Swistle’s baby names blog, and read this post about a woman who wanted to name her baby Everett Peppers (Peppers being their surname), but her mother disliked the name intensely. At the time I read it, I thought “Everett Peppers would be an EXCELLENT kitten name!”, made a mental note, and moved on.
When I got this litter, I looked at them and decided almost immediately that they were going to be the Peppers Gang. I had Everett, I came up with Harlan pretty quickly, I knew I wanted to use Molly, and then I totally stole Lucy and Sally from Connie because I like those names. All together, I think their names sound like they very well might be a gang of ruffians from the Old West, robbing stagecoaches and holding up banks.
The first few days they were here, they slept almost exclusively on the bed. And then they discovered the cat tree, and now most of the time when I go in there, they’re all crammed together on the top platform.
Like I mentioned, they were hissy-spitty the first few days we had them, but I don’t remember the last time they hissed (maybe Thursday), and when I walk over to the cat tree, they peep at me, and purr like crazy. They aren’t to the point where they’ll come to us and ask for affection and they still cringe a little if we reach for them, but there’s time. They’ll come around soon enough, I’m sure.
Every time I think “I should take that box out to the garage. No one’s using it.”, Newt suddenly starts using it again. He spends his nights outside, then comes inside during the day, finds some out of the way place to hole up, and then in the evening he’s gone again.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Seriously, you people with no web presence at all freak me out.
2007: And the code phrase for “Give me more money, bitch”, can you guess it? “Red velvet. Red velvet!”, of course.
2006: Ooooh, my blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.
2005: the line “I ate 212 almonds last night really fast and then puked them back so they were still kinda whole. I just washed them off and ate ‘em again. I’ve seen dogs do it.” made Fred shoot applesauce out his nose.
2004: No entry.
2003: “Hey, little kitty!” I said excitedly, as I am prone to dorkdom.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: I will.