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Yep, it had to happen…just not quite so early.  Well it IS Northern Ohio, and anything the weather people come up with is no surprise.   But golly, it’s only October 19…which is my grand-daughter Gina’s 19th birthday.

But we always have a frost (not to say freeze) in late October…just enough to smite the foliage with frost in order to bring out the glorious colors of Autumn.  That is to say “Fall,” but Autumn has a nicer ring to it.  The reds promise to brilliant this year, in both meanins of “brilliant”– brilliant as in bright, and brilliant as in excellent-remarkable-out-standing, as they say in England.

Stepping out onto the back deck, where I have set up the cat shelter for the winter, I tied back the edges of the door-flap, and put out cat food and … checked out the water pan, which had a thin layer of ice.  Yes, it was very thin, and one of the cats had poked a paw through it to have a drink.   Since I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, I quickly noticed that the temperature had dipped very low–not that slight-below-40 is really THAT cold, comparatively, but it did occur to me that my denim shirt needed to come out of the dryer.

Since I am old, I can wear whatever I want.  So it’s shorts all winter, on occasion, mostly when all my jeans are in the wash.  My kids long since stopped saying “you aren’t going to wear THAT!” … except for being forbidden to wear my huge denim jumper dress out into public.

Back to the cat shelter, and the ice…

My outside cats really do appreciate the provisions I make for them, and to prove it–one of them left me a mouse.  The poor little dead critter had been stopped in mid-leap, and laid to rest right outside the door, and near the food dish.   I take that as notice that they DO appreciate me, and left one of their occasional tokens.  I pushed the dead mouse off of the edge of the deck with a pole…not that I don’t appreciate it, I just don’t want it hanging around.

There was a pile of cats between the tub-shelters, laying on top of a boxy thing covered with a really nice 35-year old blanket that finally made it out of the linen closet and into the beyond.  The tubs all have straw in them, placed their lovingly by the APL lady last ear.  They have an entrance which is a tube (like a large oatmeal container) taped through the front of the tub, secured by duct tape.  Those entrances are fine for the smaller cats, but the Fat Cats (not really so fat, just big) decline squeezing through that tube.  One of the tubs is a big thing that was designed to hold Christmas tree decorations, and has a capacity for more than one cat…although Peggy prefers to keep it to herself, unless it is super cold.

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long shot (click to enlarge)

high tech flap opener

high tech flap opener

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Red Maple, early color

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Peggy, and Mawkin at lunch

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Mary, inspecting house plants enroute to inside.

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maze with chimenera, wide shot of back garden