Here are a couple of guests at dinner one night. If I told anyone about these no one would believe me, so this time I got some photos to prove it. The cats, who are the actual residents, were watching from a respectful distance. The cats don’t object, but the animals do make a mess and knock things over, and slobber in the water dish. Please note that I DO NOT feed these wild creatures and I chase them away when I see them. They are nocturnal, so I make a point of not feeding the cats after dark. I maintain a respectful distance also, especially when they have babies with them. Obviously these critters don’t know the rules.
It is against city ordinance to feed wild animals, which incudes opossums and raccoons…even deer, as a matter of fact. Cats, however, are exempted from the ordinance.
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.
Here are a few pics from my file. Actually the ones I wanted to use are not cooperating…I have no idea why. I am having a lot of anxiety and grief over getting my last batch of images onto WordPress blog.
More than likely no one really cares a mite, but I really need to write a note about the photo I have in my header of my blog Sometimes. First, I admit that it was chosen because it was needed to have a sort of neutral photo for a new theme I was trying out. (Or an old theme that was back in favor.) I previously had a picture of some beautiful red Hibiscus flowers, but even I was getting tired of them..
This photo is cloudy for two reasons: it is shot through the less-than-pristine glass patio door; and in the rain. The reason I grabbed my camera and hustled up some shots is…well, because it is a deer. I love deer, and see them fairly often, but they are elusive…especially when in photo range. This photo turned out fairly well in that it also features my tree garden, which I have discussed previously.
Deer always manage to sneak up and stand in the yard in some picturesque pose. My deer photos usually leave something to be desired, such as lining up the deer so that there is a wind-chime-bug coverning the deer’s head. Or it’s the rear end of the deer…not that white-tailed deer rear ends are not cute in and of themselves.
So when I peeked out the window and saw the deer standing by the full-blooming Rose-of-Sharon, with a “ok, let’s take the picture, lady…” attitude, I got it.
The point of this post is that in keeping with the “spruce-up-your-blog” campaign over at WordPress, I admit that mine needs a lot of work.
Speaking of sprucing-up, I hope that I’ve settled on a theme for awhile. I am using… uh, let’s see… Bold Life theme… one which I flit back and forth to because I like the colors, the lay-out, and it just seems comfortable. As I have said before, in the past two months I have changed fifteen times, many of them back and forth to Bold Life. The problem I have with switching themes is that it left me having to drag-and-drop my widgets every time. Yes, I know there is a simple way to do that, but I didn’t know it until just a couple of days ago.
So anyway, that is what I wanted to say about the deer header. It remind me of a sort of water-color or blurry painting (not being a visual artist I wouldn’t know an impressionist painting from a cubic style, if there even IS such a thing.) OK, so the stylized photo of the deer, the droopy wildflowers, and the soggy hanging Million-Bells plant, is more the result of poor photography skills.
Another thing, while the subject is up on screen…I am working on developing a writing work ethic in which I write every day. No excuses. The hazard here is that once the material starts flowing out of the brain, through the keyboard, onto the computer screen…well, let’s just say I get carried away easily.
Wouldn’t it be some kind of poetic justice if I were to LIMIT my writing time each day?
Today is the first day of a new assignment on Writing101. Free-writing, thinking on paper, just as fast as the keys will work without getting jumbled…and the object is to develop a writing habit–writing every single day without exception. No excuses…write on the computer, on the phone (yikes!), or with a pencil or pen on a piece of paper.
The point is…just get ‘er written. Sure, technically this just just be impromptu, no stopping for punctuation or spell-checks. This is a day when the Grammar Police are all staying in their chairs eating donuts, no sitting behind theoretical billboards waiting for one of us to use a semi-colon instead of a colon. Apostrophes are free.
This morning when I went to the kitchen to feed the outdoor cats, there was a really ratty (more ways than one) opossum out on the deck. These animals are never what could be called “cute,” although I suppose any animal is cute when they are small. This one looks like it has been sleeping all winter, hibernating, and just stumbled out into the daylight looking for breakfast in its nightgown. It is not only against the law to feed opossums, like raccoons, and other wild animals, but unhealthy. Besides, they all eat anything they find, and if its in a nice dish all the better.
Also laying on the top of some bales of straw was the giant black-and-white cat that I have named Rambo (because he used to beat everyone up) …fast asleep. Rambo is still leery of me, although I am always nice to him. He tries his best to look like a ragged wild animal, but he can’t fool me–someone of the neighbors is feeding him and/or giving him shelter at least by tolerating him.
Rambo just looked at me. The opossum went under the shelter and (hopefully) out the back.
Thanks to the APL local branch, there is a feral cat program by which they come out and trap, neuter or spay, and return feral cats and/or find homes for kittens. All but two females have been fixed, and all of the Toms except Rambo, who is technically not our cat as he just comes around occasionally. Or at least that’s what he DID, he seems to be spending more time here now.
Rambo is on the APL list, but so far he has managed to escape the inevitable trip to the vet clinic.
Writing about cats is a no-brainer for me, there is always something to say about cats. So far with within my involvement with the Writing Courses I have been VERY reluctant to chat about cats. This is because there is a LOT to say, and photos are called for.
Well…moving on down the Crisis List, I guess I’ve written enough for right now.
No, just kidding. A task begun not always turns out as expected. But I have tackled some impossible things, and some of them didn’t work…maybe many of them didn’t work. But running an idea or plan past a bunch of nay-sayers is counter-productive sometimes. A task is not necessarily impossible just because I can’t do it.
The first example that comes to mind is my recent building of a cat shelter on my back deck. The thing consists of a picnic table and a swing–both encased in plastic tarps and tablecloths and the like. There is a big umbrella over the feeding area. This year’s plan was to build a roof, and the progress got to the point where a pergola-type frame went up over the 17-foot by 8-foot deck. So far so good. However lack of funding limited what I could pay to have built…and for various good reasons I resisted trying to do it myself…oldness, fear of heights, etc.
The solution seemed to be putting up a giant tarp. This would have worked well had it not rained. So I put it up another way–weaving over/under the two by fours. The first plan resulted in a huge balloon-like air pocket that threatened to lift the whole deck and carry it away. The second worked nicely except for the rain. Sigh. So…back to the drawing board, Plan B having failed…the giant tarp folded up and now shelters the swing-shelter and even forms a tent-like cover, along with the umbrella.
The key is straw…which some people insist on calling “hay.” Cows eat hay, they rest and stay warm with straw.
The point of this post?
In a nutshell the point is: keep true to your own plan. 1) Ignore anyone who says anything like “that won’t work.” 2) Remember J.Paul Getty’s motto–“Always know what you will do if your first plan fails.” (In other words, have a Plan B at the ready.) 3) If it REALLY doesn’t work…well, make a new plan.
[NOTE: The original version of this post was published in November of 2014. The title was altered, the last paragraph was eliminated, and the picture was added. The scene in the picture is exactly as described except for the snow drifts. Photo by me Feb. 8, 2015.]