8/26/11 – Friday

Just so you know, those of you who asked, I haven’t forgotten that I need to post pictures of myself post-surgery, since it’s been almost 7 months. For the record, I can tell y’all that I’m going back in to have a neck lift revision in mid-October. I went to see my plastic surgeon earlier … Continue reading “8/26/11 – Friday”

Just so you know, those of you who asked, I haven’t forgotten that I need to post pictures of myself post-surgery, since it’s been almost 7 months.

For the record, I can tell y’all that I’m going back in to have a neck lift revision in mid-October. I went to see my plastic surgeon earlier this week to talk to him about my arms. They don’t look like I thought they would – for one, they’re bigger than I expected. He looked at my arms and told me that while there’s some “fullness” in my left arm, my right arm looks the best that he could make it. He told me that there was some work he could do on the left arm, but it would entail taking the incision down past my elbow, and after he explained that, I decided you know what? I can live with it the way it is. I just really don’t want to have to deal with another recovery, and honestly I don’t think that there’d be such a huge improvement in the way it looks.

So hopefully, once the neck lift revision is over in October, there will be NO MORE SURGERIES in my future.

(I can feel my appendix getting ready to make a liar of me.)

I’ll try to get pictures posted next week!

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Random question…is that wainscoat on the ceiling? I was thinking about doing that in my bathroom and wasn’t sure how it would look. Do you like the look?

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I had to ask Fred, but no – according to him, that’s not wainscot on the ceiling, it’s beadboard. I like it well enough, but I think I’d really prefer to have the wood ceilings exposed throughout the house – the ceiling in the dining room, guest bedroom, and front room are all wood, which is original to the house.

I have no opinion on wainscot. 🙂

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Do you get crickets in the house and do the cats hunt and kill them for you? We’ve had one in here for a few days and none of my pets are trying to catch it. I am quite annoyed.

We get cave crickets in the house – they seem to congregate in the laundry room, though I don’t know why. Maybe they’re doing their laundry before they go exploring in the litter boxes and fall in the cats’ water dishes and drown. We don’t get a LOT (that I know of; it’s always possible and probably likely that the cats kill and eat cave crickets I don’t know about), one or two a week. I’d rather find them dead than alive, because they’re icky and creepier than regular crickets. I’d REALLY prefer the damn cats to eat them, and I’m guessing they at least partially eat them, because I’m not a fan of finding cave cricket legs in the middle of the laundry room floor (but it’s better than finding them in my bed, I suppose).

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OooOOooo! You know what’s awesome about ducks? Duck eggs! Our local Egg Man has ducks and we get duck eggs off of him from time to time. They are excellent to cook with (and are tasty too). Can’t say as I like duck for eating though…maybe you can find some immortal ducks or something like that so you can have them around forever and don’t have to send any to freezer camp. Duck is really greasy and there isn’t much on a bird.

Fred did mention the possibility of eating duck, but I find that I’m not really interested in it. He’s more interested in having them cluster around him and do that under-their-breath quack-quack-quack that they do when they know you have food for them and they want you to give it up. So they’d probably end up being pets, is what I’m saying.

I am interested in trying duck eggs, though – I know that occasionally Lisa mentions cooking with duck eggs and she makes them sound very tasty!

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If you could make a breed of fainting kitten-sized cats, you’d make a mint. I’d buy two.

My god, could you imagine? I’d have nothing BUT fainting kitten-cats in this house, and when they were all clustering around me and annoying me, I’d just yell and clap my hands, and they’d fall over and stop annoying me.

Crooked Acres Fainting Cats! (Not ever) coming to a farm near you!

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It just occurred to me that a cute idea for cat names would be ingredients that make up recipes. It just hit me as I read Cilantro’s name during this entry. Cilantro (the herb, not the cat) always makes me think of salsa, and then I thought “How cute to name a litter of kittens after all the ingredients that make up salsa: Cilantro, Tomato (Tommy), Onion, etc. I’m sure other recipes would yield cute names too, and then you could say “This is the Chocolate Cake gang!” or something.

That would be ADORABLE, and I’m adding it to my list of name ideas!

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When you said that there was a lot of gas in Ciara’s intestines, it instantly made me think of this and the follow up (no worries, both are fine for all but the most easily offended viewing audiences).


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Hey Robyn! Just to remind your readers of a little Humane Society information. There is the Humane Society of the United States and then there are lots of local Humane Societies and they are all UNRELATED to each other – they don’t share leadership, funding, policies, or information. So the behaviour of one HS like your other commenter described is unique to that HS and most of them are not like that. I volunteered for my local HS for several years and I can tell you that they were doing all they could to get animals into no-kill shelter and forever homes as well as a good spay/neuter program. I hope your readers don’t stop supporting their local HS based on this one story!

Very true, thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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Also, if you don’t mind me asking, how do you powder your tomatoes? Do you dehydrate and crush? Thanks!

Yeah, I dehydrate them and then give ’em a whirl in the blender ’til they’re completely powdered.

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I have never had a cat (but am enjoying vicarious ownership through your brood), so what I know about feline behavior will fit on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare. That said, I am positive I heard at some point that a cat only flicks its tail when irritated. However, I’ve met Labradors that wag their tails less often than Maru of The Many Boxes! What’s the real story with cat tail action?

Elayne had a good response to this (I should start paying you, Elayne. Do you take kittens? 🙂 )

I’ve always heard that the tail twitch or flick indicates a predator mindset. When the cat is stalking prey, or thinking about stalking prey, they tend to keep their entire body still, but the tail sometimes twitches or sweeps. When I see one of mine staring out the window at birds or leaves, watching their tail flick around while the rest of them is perfectly frozen, it always makes me think that if they were *completely* still they’d explode, that the tail twitching is sort of a pressure release valve.
And the predator mindset can be activated by irritation, of course: “Go ahead, puny human, poke my nose and make that ridiculous ‘boop’ noise ONE MORE TIME, just SEE what happens next.”

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What happens to the pigs? I may have missed it when I’ve been catching up, but are they going to be bacon, or have a permanent spot as trash compactors on Crooked Acres? Bill wants to get pigs to raise so we can have bacon. I think I would have an issue keeping them and then eating them. I’d invariably name one and think it was cute. 🙁

The pigs will go off to freezer camp in October or November. One of the pigs will end up in our freezer, one of the other ones will go to someone else’s freezer, and the third will be a world traveler, because she’ll be split between two freezers.

This is, I think, the 7th or 8th set of pigs we’ve had, and it’s not easy to send them off to freezer camp, but we do know that they’re spoiled every day they’re here with us, with treats and homemade cookies, and scratches behind the ears. The first set was the most difficult to send off; at this point I don’t get too attached to them because I know how much it sucks to send them off when you do get attached.

On the other hand, by the time it’s time for them to leave, they’ve gone from little and cute to big and absolutely incredibly fucking obnoxious and demanding. It’s kind of a relief not to have them out there squealing angrily at us every time they catch a glimpse of us and want to know where their goddamn food is.

In the past, we’ve raised two sets of pigs a year because they are so very handy to have out there to give the kitchen scraps to. But it’s a lot of work, and we decided this year that we’re only raising one set a year – which is why we’ve got three pigs this time around (we’ve always done two pigs at a time in the past). So many people are interested in buying a pig from us that Fred joked that in another couple of years, there’ll probably be TEN pigs running around out there.

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A little while ago you listed three anti-odor products (and one mix-at-home dealy) (yes, that was me searching for odor remover just now). I know you said they all work really well and that you listed the one out ahead of the others only because it has no scent of its own – my question is, do you know how well they work on KEEPING odors away? Not just covering up temporary odors but getting rid of lingering problem smells?

(The whole comment can be seen here.)

The information on the anti-odor products I recommended can be seen here, for those of you who missed it, by the way.

Earlier this year, we had a chair – a recliner – peed upon by one of the cats. We soaked it with Nose Offense and let it dry, and at this point, the smell hasn’t come back. Now, I don’t know if it might one day resurface, but it’s been about six months, and so far, so good. At about the same point in time, we soaked a couch cushion with the hydrogen peroxide/ baking soda mixture and let it dry, and the smell from that hasn’t come back, either. I haven’t tried the other two sprays on stuff that soaks up the urine smell, so I can’t speak to whether the smell comes back from those or not.

I’m throwing this open to the rest of y’all – anyone got advice on this topic? Is there something you’ve tried that worked for you, that you can recommend?

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What brand of electronic fence/collar do you use? We had a crappy one that had two settings – nothing at all or full-blast-scare-the-poop-out-of-the-dog. Could never get it to work right!

It’s a PetSafe underground fence, this one to be exact. It does a great job, but I’ll tell y’all that I hate those damn collars, I think they ruin the pictures I take of the cats who are wearing them. But the fence does work, and the cats who wear the collars – Tommy, Elwood, Kara, Sugarbutt – stay away from the fence, so I guess the collars are worth the ruining of the pictures!

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I always wondered why you planted purslane, it grows like crazy in our backyard and if I don’t get a chance to weed every week it takes over my entire patio! We named one of our cats Purslane after the character in “A Love Song For Bobby Long”.. Pursey for short.

I got all interested in purslane last year when Fred pointed out some weeds growing in the ditch in front of the back forty. He said he thought it was purslane, so I started reading about it, and wanted to give it a try. (I particularly liked that it’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids.) But the stuff in the ditch wasn’t purslane, so I kept it in mind to grow this year. Which I did – and apparently it IS aggressive as hell, because it’s growing all around the raised beds as well as in the one where I planted it. Maybe next year I can just harvest it from the yard instead of needing to plant it!

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GHOST PEPPERS! YIKES! My hubby loves some spicy peppers but while we were on vacation we went to a store called The Pepper Palace and he tried salsa made with ghost peppers and almost DIED! I had to get him some milk an his mouth and throat burned for hours afterwards! You are a brave woman working with ghost peppers!

Is that The Pepper Palace in Gatlinburg?? We’ve been there many times, and I’ve been having a hankering to go back (to Gatlinburg, that is, not necessarily The Pepper Palace.)

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Would you describe Ciara’s purr as “burbling”?

My Old Man Of The House, Packer, has a purr that sounds like a – I hate to use the word again, but – burbling brook, with a tiny hint of squeakiness thrown in. And it’s LOUD. When people hear it for the first time, they tend not to believe it’s all him; they usually think there’s some other noise going on in the background in addition to his purring, and insist on looking around for it even after I tell them, no, it’s him.

It actually makes me wonder sometimes if he might have asthma or something, though his unusual purr is the only odd sound he makes. Everything else (breathing, meowing, not-snoring) is all normal. I hear a hint of the same squeakiness in Ciara’s purr, though not quite the full burble*. But I know that when the camera’s on, they sometimes change things up…

*BRB, off to form a band.

That is a REALLY good word to describe it – I’d definitely call it a burble!

Elwood has a high-pitched squeak in the middle of his purr when he’s very very happy. And when Spanky’s purring particularly hard, he sounds like a cricket singing. (Note to self: carry the damn camera around more often!)

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For two people that don’t drink you sure have a lot of booze layin’ around!

I know! I was just telling Suzanne last week that two years ago I thought “Huh. Strawberry Dacquiris would be good!” and I bought the mix and the alcohol and… we just never got around to it. Both bottles are unopened still! We also buy vodka and… something else I don’t remember at the moment. Rum, maybe? … so I can make my own vanilla extract. I want to try using bourbon next time I make vanilla (which won’t be for a while, since I made a ton last year).

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As a Summer pastime at our house when we are sitting the backyard watching the squirrels grazing around the lawn we get long thin pieces of bamboo(13ft+) and gently poke the squirrels in to patooty. They jump straight up in the air about 5 ft. Yes it’s kind of evil but so funny.

I am pretty sure that if I were to see this in action, I would probably fall over and laugh so hard I’d die from asphyxiation.

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Maw Peppers is ultra-cute — and oh, that feathery tail! I’m not even going to go into how beautiful her children are, not when Ciara and her stash have stolen the kitty show. And don’t get started on joyous Jake; is he as kooky as he looks?

Jake is more kooky-looking than kooky-acting. Underneath the looniness, he’s just a sweet, social boy who loves kitten food (and will put up with kittens to get to their food) and loves all the other cats in the house. When Fred gets up in the morning, he puts the collars on the cats who need to wear them before he opens the door to the back yard. While he’s got Tommy (or Elwood or Kara or Sugarbutt) held in place so he can put their collar on, Jake KNOWS that the cat being collared can’t get away, so he comes right over and rubs up against them and purrs and purrs. That’s the best description of Jake I can think of.

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*snicker* I see cat-butt magnets on that fridge 😉

Are you implying that not everyone has cat butt magnets? 🙂 I also have a Crazy Cat Lady Action Figurine!

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Do people ever keep the names that you give the kittens? They always seem “just right.”

I for one can’t imagine Clove as anything but Clove. Her coloring, her button nose is just like a clove!

I heard that cats that are colored like Miz Poo are the most difficult to get adopted – true in your experience?

Sometimes people do, and I’m always a little surprised when they do – when I name the kittens, I always assume they’ll be renamed when they’re adopted. Reacher, Dorothy, and Bill all kept their original names, though!

I’ve heard that black cats – at least here in the US – are the last to be adopted, and right behind that are the torties. Which seems absolutely nuts to me, because I’ve had plenty of black fosters, and of course Maxi and Tommy are black, too. Every single black cat I’ve had has been absolutely awesome. And torties, well, Miz Poo is a tortie and she is AWESOME. I think everyone needs at least one black cat and one tortie!

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For whatever it’s worth, in regard to the thing about nervous cats: I discovered a few years ago that I am what is known in psychological circles as a Highly Sensitive Person (or HSP for short) which basically means that my nervous system is “hard-wired” to respond more strongly to stimulation than most. That is, my sight, hearing, etc. aren’t necessarily any better than anyone else’s, but my brain processes all the sensory information which does come in much more thoroughly than that of a non-HSP, so I’m more AWARE of things like bright lights and noises, and it’s therefore much easier for me to get OVER-stimulated (and tired, stressed-out, and grumpy) from simply being in an environment with a lot going on. Shopping malls and airports, for example, just wear me the heck out!

I want to stress, though, that being HSP isn’t a pathological thing. It’s not a “disease” or a “syndrome” or anything like that; it’s simply a trait, like hair color or eye color, and is probably genetic in origin. In fact, from the reading I’ve done, the tendency toward High Sensitivity seems to be present in approximately the same proportion (around 20% of total population) in everything from fruit flies to horses to humans, so it must have some kind of survival advantage or it wouldn’t be that prevalent. The lady who’s done the most research on High Sensitivity (Elaine Aron, you can Google her if you want to know more about her work) believes that those with the HSP trait are designed to be a kind of “early warning system” for others of their species–we’re the ones who NOTICE things, and so tend to spot the predator lurking in the bushes before anyone else does.

Anyway–given all that, it’s certainly possible that at least some of these “perpetually nervous even though there’s no reason to be” cats are actually feline HSPs, and thus the spooky behavior is genetic rather than learned, which also explains why it can persist throughout life even with an owner who’s never harmed the kitty in question. So I will second what Oldcat said about giving nervous cats a spot of their own where they can retreat when they’re scared, particularly if they live in a busy household with kids and/or other animals. Believe me, being overstimulated isn’t very much fun, even when you understand what’s happening and why, and High Sensitivity isn’t something that can be trained or conditioned away. As Brandy so elegantly put it, the best you can do is accept that this is just how Nature programmed some of us to be, and try to work around the limits it imposes. (And while I definitely don’t advocate trying to “cure” High Sensitivity with drugs, I will say that a little Rescue Remedy can be VERY helpful at difficult moments. I’m not a pet owner myself so I have no personal experience with using it on an animal, but I can tell you for certain that it’s a real lifesaver for a human HSP, and I literally won’t leave the house without it these days. I’m given to understand that some people/animals respond to it better than others, but it has no side effects and if you have a fur-kid that you think might be Highly Sensitive, I would say it’s certainly worth a try.)

So, informational message delivered–back to lurking.

I found this very very interesting. Thanks for delurking to share!

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Did you plant all the plants in at the same time? I love how staggered the harvest is, and can’t help but wonder if they ripen on their own calendar or by the time you plant them.

We planted the summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans at the same time. Oh, and the corn. The beans and corn have been harvested and the plants pulled up to make room in the garden, and we had to pull up the squash plants because they were starting to die due to vine borers. The tomatoes are still (kind of) producing (they’d probably be doing better if it wasn’t for THE BLIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT) and the peppers are still producing like mad. The acorn and butternut squash were planted about a month ago, and they’re doing REALLY well, as you can see.

Wait. When did we plant the watermelon and cantaloupe? I’m thinking at the same time as the tomatoes and peppers, etc. And we’re still getting watermelon, but the cantaloupes are mostly played out.

Basically, they ripen by their own calendar. Some plants just take longer – it seems like forever between the time you see a squash flower and are able to harvest your first squash from that plant, but the peppers and okra will just appear overnight.

So no, for the most part we planted everything at the same time (except the acorn and butternut squashes, and I think we waited a while to plant the okra), they just kind of staggered themselves. 🙂

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Do you eat the purslane? I’ve heard it’s good in salads.

We do eat the purslane! It’s good in salads and also good sauteed in some olive oil. It’s crunchy and has a very faint lemony taste. I’ve been known to occasionally pull up a stalk and eat it while I’m working on the raised beds.

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Miz Poo was laying in this bed, and Ciara was all “Hey, let’s snuggle!” Miz Poo growled and hissed and smacked, but Ciara just made herself at home. Miz Poo showed her displeasure by taking a bath.

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“What’s YOUR problem?”

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“I hate you.”

Ciara’s off to the place. You know. The place. etSmart-Pay. In a bit. I’ll try to remember to take the camera!

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“What’s she doing?”
“I don’t know. She’s weird.”

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Sally Peppers has clearly gotten over her skittishness.

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“I SAY, pet me, lady.”

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“What’s going on over HERE?”

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Hello, Lucy Peppers.

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Lucy keeps an eye on me.

Yesterday, I finally moved the Peppers Gang upstairs to the foster room. They were a bit freaked out – the first couple of times I went up to check on them, they were hiding in the closet. By the time a couple of hours had passed, they were hanging out on the cat tree and yelling at me to get over there and pet them. I’m glad it didn’t take them two weeks to adjust to their new circumstances this time!

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Corbie and the Ears of Annoyance. Jake and the Look o’ Looniness.

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Keeping an eye on the guy next door.

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2010: How I have not squeezed the stuffing out of that boy, I do not know.
2009: Damn whippersnappers.
2008: I don’t know why he can’t just call it Demer0l or whatever the fuck other people call it.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: I sure do hate the hell out of housework.
2003: When I think of Judge Roy Moore, the phrase “Getting too big for his britches” comes to mind.
2002: If he didn’t do that creepy, over-intense stare all the time, he wouldn’t be so (you guessed it) creepy, but he does, so he is.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.