Saturday, March 28, 2015

and the story continues...

I'm starting this blog off with this picture because I really think that the sentiment is true.  We have a more or less "silent war" going in our area over the feral cats that exist in our neighborhood. I mentioned Sam's story in one of my previous posts *story of a semi-feral*. It continues... 

At this point one of our residents has taken the initiative to have our neighborhood feral neutered, vaccinated, and released.  Several of us offered to help with the fees, but apparently *feral friends* will do it for free. So we thanked them with donations in honor of Sam.

In my private messages to her, I blessed her for taking this step and told her my own feelings on the matter - that although this Siamese cat was semi-feral and was getting old, that since he had been around our area for so long that DH and I both thought he deserved this second chance. But... we hoped she realized that not everyone in the neighborhood would agree. 

And of course they didn't.  Someone posted their feelings on the matter yesterday. In this post they complained about the nuisance feral cats created; spraying, having kittens on their property, etc. 

And this is what bugs me... I was always taught that if one has a problem, it's up to that person to take care of it. So, if the feral cats are a problem for this person, why don't they catch them and have Animal Control come by and pick them up. Feral cats don't have much chance of being adopted since they've been out in the wild too long. So more than likely, they will be put down. But Animal Control will come pick them up if trapped.  I've had discussions with Animal Control about this, and although I don't like it, I can understand that space is limited and adoptable animals are their priority. 

The other option (which IMO is preferable) is to offer them some sanctuary and try to do the CNR (Catch, Neuter, & Release) whenever possible. True, there are some inconveniences that we may have to put up with... but for those of us that believe we can live alongside the wildlife, it's not that much of a stretch. 

Anyway, that's my update for today concerning Sam.

Here are some pics of one of the squirrels in a *supposedly* squirrel free bird feeder. (BTW, I've learned that many people hate squirrels too... reason given: they are destructive and eat all the birdseed). Guess we're pretty tolerant because DH and I just laugh at their antics and figure the birds and squirrels can figure it out for themselves. There's plenty for all.

Next is a handsome black feral male...

And last of all is a picture of my first sewing adventure outside of quilting.  This isn't much of a boast for those of you who sew, but it's really something for me who until I started quilting lately, had never sewed anything in my life.

It's a pillowslip (pillowcase?) made from some fabric that my good friend (the one teaching me to quilt) brought me home from a quilting seminar she attended. It was so pretty that I had to do something with it. So I covered an old chair pillow with it. I think it looks rather nice. 

It's Friday! And it looks like we're going to have a warm sunny weekend! Yea!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

a pottery update...

As I believe I mentioned at some point, the project in our pottery class this semester is for us to make personal hand-built kilns. We were given specific sizes and instructions, including the *thermo- dynamics* involved in building and firing a kiln. If you do pottery yourself and own your own kiln, you may already know this. However, I don't... and didn't... and although I am finding it an interesting project (and I have learned a lot), it has been a bit over-whelming.

We paired off as only one of us could take home the kiln... so it was suggested that we paired with someone who didn't want to take it home. I didn't. First of all, I was doubtful that I could build a kiln... or at least one that worked. Then it was going to be fairly large and use 75-100 lbs of clay and I knew that I couldn't very well transport this large a piece. Even carrying around 25 - 50 lb bags of clay is almost impossible for me (and I used to think I was a pretty strong person).

Anyway, we were told that we could build it to look like just a kiln (which most of us did) or we could build it to look like anything we wanted.  Wimps that we are, my partner and I just built one that looks like a kiln.

our sad little kiln

Now some really creative individuals made the next kilns (fish, turtle, and castle). I think they are spectacular... especially the castle one!  Of course we still don't know which ones will survive the firing to bisque.  They may all crack , but hopefully not explode.

Then... the ones that survive the firing will all be tested by heating up all together on the campus lawn with wood or coal and only then we will see which ones actually work.  They will only hold a few pieces of clay so even if they do work, they can't do quantity. But non-the-less, the fancy ones will make great lawn art (maybe filled with plants?)

Until later... 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

a tale of a semi-feral...

This is an ongoing tale of one of our *neighborhood cats*.  I won't say feral for him as we believe at one time he was an inside cat that strayed years ago... so maybe semi-feral is the correct term.  Sam (we called him Sam - he probably has numerous names) has been around our area for years. You see him laying on the front lawn or porch of houses all over the neighborhood. He is a handsome fellow with very striking blue eyes . He is not aggressive, but won't come closer than about 2 feet. He is calm and gets along well with the other cats (especially the young ones who tend to follow him around in the yard)... unless the females are in season... then he is a fighter. Since he is getting older, he still fights, but shows evidence of being badly beaten on occasion (notice his ears in this pic). 

The reason I'm writing this is because lately he has become the subject of our neighborhood news-feed. A few months ago, someone posted his picture and asked if anyone knew this cat. Of course many of us did. We replied that he has been a fixture in the neighborhood for years, but weren't aware whether he had a permanent home. But IMO he did no harm, so basically my thought was to just let him be. 

Not much came of this for a while, then yesterday it all came to a head. Before I left for pottery class, DH had me come into the garage to see something. It was a black feral who was hiding under the workbench and doing this low howl. We thought possibly she was in labor and let her be. I had to go to class, so he checked her ever so often. A few hours later I got a text from DH saying to call him. When I did, he said the cat was dead. I thought, "What?"  He didn't know anything else except that she didn't seem to have any wounds, but when he checked on her after lunch, she was dead. 

When I got home from class we again checked her out. She was definitely dead and showed no tell-tale signs of a problem. So we called our Animal Control and had them come out to pick her up and possibly let us know the cause of death if they could. The AC guy was very nice and after examining her, he said that he couldn't see any evidence of illness or trauma. She looked healthy, a good weight, and possibly about 5 years old. But that he would call us and tell us more if there was more to tell. We really would like to know why she died and felt awful that we hadn't done something sooner. I'm not sure what - as she was feral and probably would have run off and died somewhere else had we tried to get too close. 

But the story only begins (or continues) here for our neighborhood Siamese. While talking to the Animal Control guy, we mentioned that the neighborhood had quite a lot of feral cats... mostly black. The exception was this one old male Siamese that had striking blue eyes. He asked us if we'd seen him lately and we said no... not in a week or so. Why? And then he explained that they had picked up a cat that fit that description about 2 weeks ago. He asked if he had a big head? We said yes, he has a really big head. In fact, our next door neighbor calls him "Fat-head". Well, it turns out that we're pretty sure that the Animal Shelter has him and we were told that they may not be keeping him around too much longer. He said that he was a good looking cat, but he'd seen better days and if anyone wants him, they need to do something quickly. 

So we promised to get on the band wagon and use the news-feed to let the area know that we "think" the Animal Shelter has our neighborhood Siamese. The response was immediate and several people mentioned that they would go over and check this out... possibly give him a permanent home. Haven't heard any more this morning, but will follow up as soon as I know. If nothing else, possibly the neighbors could get together and follow the "catch and release" program... (the catch part is done, only left to neuter, vaccinate, and release). Please wish the best for Sam/Fat-head...   

pic of neighborhood Siamese in his younger days

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day... 2015

Some of my favorite Irish china

Spring has sprung.... or at least it looks that way.  Happy Happy! DH and I are celebrating with a Caramelito Espresso with salted caramel ice-cream. Didn't buy it, made it with my Nespresso machine that has been lying dormant since my IC diagnosis. It's delicious... and even more so because it is on my *Don't* list.  But I've done so well lately, that I thought I'd cheat (hope I don't regret it later). 

The grass is green (well, the winter has killed most of the grass... so it's the weeds that are green), the Bradford pear trees are in bloom, and I can see new growth almost everywhere. I know it doesn't mean that we won't have another unexpected cold spell, but since it's probably in the 70's (possibly 80's) today, I would hope not. Actually just checked and it's 82 F!!

and.... Happy St. Patrick's Day!  DH and I wore our green today while walking.  He's Irish on his mother's side and I'm Irish on my Father's. When I was doing ancestry, I tried to find info on my Father's side in Ireland, but I could only get as far back as England. The original family name was O'Regan, but when they moved to England, they removed the "O" and went with just Regan. Then when my grandfather moved his family to the States, they were naturalized and returned the "O" so he became "O'Regan" again. So I was born as an O'Regan. I never knew my Irish/English grandparents as they both died when I was a baby, but I wish I had. From the stories told, my grandfather led quite an interesting life. If I ever get the stories verified by ancestry, I will write about them. And I've often wondered why once they settled in the states, that they never returned to visit family in England or Ireland... and vice -versa.  (Grandma's family were English from London and knowing the history of the English - Irish controversies, perhaps her family was not happy with Grandpa being Irish?  I'd love to know that story.)

These were all taken the Easter before I painted the inside of my cup cabinet green...

Will have to take new pictures this coming Easter...

Guess that's it for today.  Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Chickadee in bird feeder

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5th 2015 Snow...

Pictures taken this morning of snowfall in Texas:

Pictures taken of outside ferals (handsome devils) 
enjoying the snow:

The bird-feeders are covered in snow, so we put a pan of birdseed on the ground and the following is the saga of events that followed:

Squirrel is in bird-feeder which is covered with snow. Cardinal is on ground eating seed. Squirrel sees Cardinal...

Female Cardinal is not far from male

Birds are scared away as squirrel scrambles down tree to birdseed

squirrel is triumphant!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

sleety, snowy, slushy...

Outside feral's water bowl

This is our weatherman's forecast for tonight and tomorrow: "sleety, snowy, and slushy"... again. He predicts 2-3 inches of snow for our area, but it should only last until the temps rise above freezing Thursday afternoon. The schools will probably be closed on Thursday which means the kids may have another snow day to make up before summer vacation. 

Luckily DH and I  got out and walked a bit at the mall yesterday to get some exercise and some time out of the house.  We picked up some new loose tea at Teavana. It's called *Slimful Chocolate Decadence oolong* - but we haven't tried it yet. Will let you know. The one we liked so much (Whitc Chocolate Peppermint) is a seasonal and no longer available... which doesn't make sense to me since it was so popular... why not have it available year round and make money on it? Marketing? Never really understood it.

I started writing this early this morning, and it is now close to 1:30. It's been raining pretty constantly all morning. The temp is dropping and the house is cold... even with the fire-place on. I've got my long johns on under my clothes and can still feel the damp.The cats are hugging the Aga and I have to admit that I go there and warm my hands ever so often.  They predict the rain will change to freezing rain and sleet between 3 and 6 and then the snow will come during the night. 

Old pic of 7 cats on bed
This is an old pic of our 7 cats lying on our bed... one of their favorite places - besides the Aga and the fire-place. The orange cat (Thibbadeaux) died about 2 years ago (he was 20) and the big black cat up front (Jack) with the blue collar died last year (he was only 10, but had been struggling for 6 years with a form of Feline Leukemia that we believed was passed on to him in the womb by his mother). The others are still with us... The tortie, Molly,  (behind the orange tabby - they were great pals) is going on 22 and the white long haired in the background is also going on 22. The other 2 black and whites are 11 (siblings of Thibs) and then there's Ghost (smokey gray like a Russian Blue) who is 7. She has genetic kidney problems and was not supposed to survive past her first year, but so far is doing fine. 

Looking for pictures to post that will help me forget the cold. Came across this one of cooking breakfast on the Aga.  Looks warm and cozy...

Guess I'll close for now and go back to reading by the fire-place - with Tux. He doesn't like me sitting there alone... needs to crawl up in my lap and help me read. 

Have a wonderful rest of the week... and try to stay warm!