Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I may have bears and raccoons...

But Cary has a porcupine!

If you want to view it in higher quality (which is very cool) click on the video while it is running. That will take you to YouTube and you can click on "view in higher quality at lower right of the video."

(And Cary has bears and raccoons of her own)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Totalily Water Gardens

I couldn't travel for work without the help of Tim and Donna of Totalily Water Gardens. They care for the cats when I wander across the U.S.

When mom was up for her birthday, we stopped by Totalily during a break between central NYS thunderstorms. I thought I had taken more photos of their beautiful ponds and gardens, but appears I got to yakking too much!

They are located between Spencer and Candor on Route 96, and it's well worth the trip. The wonderful thing about water gardening is that you can start at this time of the year. If you go to a greenhouse now to upgrade your terrestrial window boxes, you'll find that pickings are pretty thin. But if you want to add a water garden, you'll find everything you could want and need at Totalily.

Or go just to dream. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fixed the mower

Last week, the push mower broke. I've already been reduced from a lawn-tractor user to a push-mower user because the lawn tractors are out of commission (won't go there in a blog post). But when the push mower gave up the ghost, I peeled back my lip in a snarl, and then let the anger go. What's a push mower? It's a tiny engine that any fool and the Internet can fix, as long as you are willing. Briggs and Stratton made their engines with people like me in mind. They go and go and go, and when they quit, anyone who can reason from A to B should be able to fix it, if it's fixable. It doesn't take balls to fix a standard push mower.

Turns out I didn't need the Internet. The mower and I had a pow-wow this afternoon and we came to an amicable understanding. It was clear gas wasn't getting to the engine. It would work for six seconds when I primed it, and then it sputtered out. I'm thinking: clogged filter, or clogged line. Or, worst case, a broken line.

So I unscrewed everything I saw that could be unscrewed, and cleaned with gasoline everything that could be cleaned. Then I checked the lines, and realized the gas tank was quite loose and therefore the gasket connecting the tank to the engine gas line was pulling back, leaving a gap. I poked around and realized a bolt was missing holding the tank to the engine (engine? motor? engine? motor? I always get the terms mixed up). I poked around in the barn and actually found a bolt that fit. I put her all back together, and she roared to life.

Bear-the-cat watched all of this from the second floor of the working barn (different from the cat facility barn), and then trotted down the vertical ladder like it was stairs of a house, to say hi. He certainly has made himself at home around here.

Pardon me. It's time to go mow some lawn.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Neighborhood Cats on FeralStat

from Neighborhood Cats (please cross-post):

This past week, word has become widespread on the Internet about a product called FeralStat - its manufacturer claims it is a safe, effective oral contraceptive for feral cats that only needs to be placed in the cats' communal food once a week.

According to an interim statement from the highly reputable Alliance for Contraception in Cats &Dogs (ACC&D):

*In numerous studies over three decades, FeralStat's main ingredient (megestrol acetate) has been found to pose serious health risks in cats, including diabetes mellitus, mammary swelling and tumors, uterine disease, pyometra, and skin disorders. Megestrol acetate is not now, nor has it ever been, approved by the FDA for use in cats.

*FeralStat is not yet known to have completed any formal review process or been subjected to acceptable, controlled studies.

* Because it is a food additive, there is no way to control the amount of FeralStat each cat ingests, and there is the risk of ingestion by wildlife and owned pets.

For the full ACC&D interim statement, please see the attached pdf file.

Neighborhood Cats strongly discourages anyone from using this potentially dangerous product for any purpose. For the latest developments in non-surgical sterilization, we recommend relying solely on information gained from the Alliance for Contraception in Cats &Dogs.

Bryan Kortis
Executive Director
Neighborhood Cats

Tumble's Owner Found!

Nancy posted flyers and notices on Craigslist for Tumble and she called tonight with the great news that Tumble's owners saw them and showed up at the door to bring him home!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kittens and mom, complete with sniffles

The Waverly folks took this lady to Stray Haven for a spay, but she gave birth to kittens before her date came up. They therefore came to stay with us, but not before mom and her older kitten caught an upper respiratory infection--entirely expectable in a shelter with scads of kittens in the isolation area. Green goo usual means "bacterial infection" and believe it or not, with the aid of a towel, mom let me treat her eye.

Her older kitten (no photo available yet) is the nastiest little buggers I've run into for a long time. He is the only surviving kitten from her previous litter, and I can see how he survivied! He also has an upper respiratory infection, and I'm hoping that baby food will tame his wild little soul. When I picked the family(s) up at Stray Haven, I wore my gloves out of respect for the shelter. But when the 8-week kitten lived up to their warning that "he really bounces around" I was glad I wore them. He chomped down hard through the towel and the gloves kept me safe. And that's why ,they cost a mint and are worth every dime. In my experience, the nastier a very young kitten is, the faster they tame up. Let's up this hold true for this fellow!

These little guys aren't biting anyone yet, but since they are so young, there is danger if they also have contracted their mom's infection:

So, once again there are kittens in the house. Hopefully, they'll do OK! They are on Floor One, entirely away from the adoptable cats. And I'll be taking more showers than a human ought to be exposed to, as usual when there are sniffles in the house.

I was very impressed that Stray Haven had at least three staff members working on a Sunday when the shelter is closed. In my personal experience, "Sunday at the shelter" often falls to one lone staff member. Kudos to Stray Haven for their extra help for their animals, and to their cruelty investigator who was on her way our for a call with the sheriff's department.

NYS thunderstorms....

On one hand the thunderstorms are a blessing (I don't have to water the gardens). On the other hand, they are a curse (I can't mow the sopping lawn; the farmers can't hay). We have entered an odd period of "sun one minute, a storm the next" that has plagued us for over a week. I've given up worrying about staying dry. I have mowed in the rain. I have washed cat boxes and cages in the rain. Today I walked with Eliza and Kagen in Ithaca while it "Ithacated" (snizzled rained). Who cares? In NYS, you get wet now and then. At Lorenzo the other day, I met at least four people who admitted they--like myself--did not even own umbrellas.

It does make releasing cats a bit of an issue. I've been trying to get Tuffy 2 back to Valarie and Craig for a week now, and the heaven let loose each time. I just took him over today--finally--and we had a nice 20 minute talk in the sun while Tuffy (they have another name for him, and I blank on it now) wandered back and forth to be petted. An hour later, the heavens are booming and we've just had a downpour. I hope Tuffy was smart enough to stay on the porch!

When I could have used the gray day to keep the truck cool, driving a feral cat and her kittens back from Stray Haven, of course the sun decided to come out with all her glory. So I drove as fast as I dared to keep air moving through the truck, and immediately unloaded the family into the cool of the barn. Thank goodness I'm only 15 minutes away. But it's impossible to judge the weather this month.

I've let it all fold over me as so much circumstance. I'm not sure anymore if my steady calm and dark cynicism is a newfound patience or a backwash of anger. Furniture it took two people to move in, I've managed to move out alone, with no kicking or swearing, even when things get hung up in doorways or have to be hoisted into the truck. Today I walked up Buffalo Street with E and K without a huff or a puff. If there is one benefit of not having husbandly help, it's that I'm fitter now than I've been in five years.

So the thunderstorms are kind, to me. I may have to work in them, or around them, but the drumroll mirrors my anger lately, while still giving the farm (and myself) rain to cool the temper.

Lorenzo Driving Competition in Cazenovia

Sometimes I try to get together with other local cat folk, but they are so busy its hard to get in their schedule. Susan M. and I seldom manage to connect, so I figured the only way to catch her, was to find out what she was doing, and do that to. This weekend she was off to the Lorenzo Driving Competition, in Cazenovia, so I came along. This gave us time in her car to talk cats (and life). And I haven't been to a driving competition since college.

There are any number of festivals this weekend. There is the Grassroots Festival, which may be its traditional glorious and muddy self after the downpours we had, and the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in Watkins Glen, which is a crowded and happy wonder.

However Lorenzo trumps them in that it is quiet, has horses, and is free. There's something to be said about a venue where you can hear yourself think, and people are downright kind to you. There are no jostling crowds. Susan normally drives at this event, but was just watching this year, so I met many of her friends and colleagues as we walked the grounds and visited the horses in the stabling area.

Sadly, around 4 pm it was shut down until 8am Sunday due to storms. If you live in the Cazenovia area and the weather looks OK Sunday, head on over to Lorenzo.

Afterwards, I visited with Susan's cats. She also rescues feral cats.

Susan lives well off her quiet road, and lets her cats out to visit her garden. Lemur gets a drink from her garden fountain:

Tomorrow Tuffy 2 goes home, and we pick up a feral mom and kittens, and another kitten, from Stray Haven. They originated with the Waverly colony, and mom had her kits while she was standing by for a spay. So tomorrow (despite my best efforts to stay kittenless!) we get our first kittens of the year!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A first photo of Norma

Little Norma is the tiny torti in this photo. While she is very friendly when you are tucked in bed (demanding pets, in fact) she is shy about being touched any other time, and she never comes downstairs. Getting a photo of anything other than her butt has been a challenge. Today I snuck up on her. Three seconds later, she was gone.

Plans for the Farm

I've been reflecting seriously on the farm. There needs to be a plan for it, otherwise there is no sense in owning it. When we bought it, my dream was to set up the cat facility. My husband's dream was to farm. Exactly what to farm changed as he evaluated the land. Just because he gave up his dream doesn't mean I can't pick it up. It's a good dream and doesn't deserve to be abandoned.

I am not enough of a farmer to grow produce. It is far too unpredictable, takes considerable knowledge, patience, and skill, and nickles and dimes just aren't going to cut it. The kind of produce I could grow I could only manage on a small scale, and around here you only make money if you can supply a specific outlet (a store, or local restaurants, etc.). The kinds of "forgiving" produce I can grow successfully are really only suitable for me to freeze and use myself (kale, etc.)

However, flowers I would enjoy growing. This was one of my husbands ideas, and we have a shelf full of books to support it. If it turned out there were no market for them, or I did not have the time to market them, they can be given away, and local friends, restaurants, and nursing homes would love them. Unlike gift-zucchini, which gets tiresome after awhile.

I have the space for a cutting garden (for neighbors, and my own use). I have the space to grow one or two flower varieties this year that would be suitable for weddings, and market them last minute (Hey, I didn't arrange for flowers until the week before my wedding, and I couldn't find a single flower farm with flowers available at that time). Like sunflowers, for example. And if people came and cut them themselves, they could get them cheaper than at the market.

That is my preliminary plan. I had been toying with the idea of building a stand at the side of the road. It's a low priority...why build something when you have nothing to sell?

Then last night, I was driving by a former garden market, and noticed they had one of their produce stands sitting forlornly outside. I whipped in (would I be late to the vet's yet AGAIN?) and talked to the men who were putting in big new windows on the building. Did they want to sell the farm stand?

Sell? No, they would give it to me. They not only would give it to me, they would load it for me, and throw in a six foot section of cabinet top, too. They were absolutely sweet and wonderful, and shared their new plans for the building (ice cream!) Apparently someone else had stopped for the farm stand, too, but had not fetched it after a week and a half.

Nancy asked how I'd get it out of the truck (it weighs a ton). I just slid it out right where I plan to keep it. I'll get some landscaping fabric, put down mulch, and build a roof on it. And paint it, of course. I think I'll stay with green. I'll need to stake it down before someone thinks I'm giving it away and carts it off. And I'll probably move it under the tree, where it would be shaded and visitors would be somewhat protected from black flies.

The top is tile. Filthy, of course, from sitting by the road. But I can fix it up and seal it so it's quite cute. And it's small. That's a plus.

I have changed the name of the farm, which was formerly Old Ferris Farm. However, I'm going to mull the new name over for a time, to make sure it's right.

Martha gave me some sunflowers that Liza had started. It's fitting that "friend flowers" be the start of all this. Nothing much will happen this year, but something will! If I can keep the sunflowers from becoming deer food or insect food, just before they are ready to bloom I'll list them on Craigslist as you-cut wedding flowers for a very cheap price, just to see what happens.

There is always a reason why things come your way. Some good things have been happening to me lately, and while I'm not a particularly spiritual person, I had some good mentors when I was in college who taught me that gifts often arrive for a reason. And Rune Hill is right next door, so maybe some of their good light will spill over here as well.

Proof my mom reads my blog

She read this, and got me these:

I laughed pretty hard. The "miracles" list and "priority board" are definitely finding a home on my refrigerator!

Open gardens in Ithaca Saturday

In the category of "being nice to people who are nice to me and having a lot of fun doing it," I told Martha I would be happy to volunteer for a few hours for an open garden event in Ithaca on Saturday.

Oh, woe is me, I had to sit in the beautiful sun for two hours and look at this:

I actually knew a few people who came through the tour, whom I had not seen in awhile, which was an added benefit. I must get out more!

Proceeds went to The Garden Conservancy and the Community Beautification" program.

Tumble ain't a girl

When I felt Tumble's backside on admission and noted a lack of male equipment, I assumed Tumble was a girl. But something about her/his unabashed friendliness and the shape of her/his face indicated "boy." She/he had a small wound under the tail, so I wasn't sure if we had a girl who had a prolapse, or a boy with an unhealed neuter. And Tumble was so friendly he kept spinning around to see what the heck I was looking at. So we let the vet decide.

Verdict: Tumble is a newly neutered male, with some scrotal tissue poking out of the incision, which they took care of. Since he was friendly, I foisted him back off on Nancy, who had rescued him (a highly experience fosterer for a variety of animal rescue organizations), and she is taking photos and reporting him as found, so hopefully we can locate his owner. Unfortunately, there was no microchip. He was likely hit by a car (or jumped out?) so he is one lucky kitty.

He is FIV/FeLV negative, a bit talky, and extremely friendly. He seems OK with Jack, Nancy's dog, but obviously has not been exposed to ceiling fans! "Whoa, what is that scary thing?" If we don't locate his owner, he will be up for adoption. Perhaps Felyne will come visit him when she comes East (unfortunately we are pretty far from Pittsburgh!).

Thank you also for Nancy for generously donating to the vet fund to cover his care.

Reflections on housekeeping, laundry edition

Do you suspect that when your favorite brand of liquid detergent suddenly comes out "new" "improved" and "concentrated" that they simply put the same stuff in a smaller bottle, say you can use less, and charge you more?

And is there a "word" for when you throw your underwear in the washer, and don't notice that a leg hole fell over the agitator until the wash cycle is done and you pull out a grossly deformed piece of personal clothing?

Yes, I have the morning off (work an extra hour a day for four days, get one morning free for the summer!), which slightly skews my mental functioning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adopter photo: Ben!

Ben has a new friend, adopted from a shelter in the Tri-Cities area (I have to run back to the email to see which one and link it). It looks like he has perhaps even learned to share!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blogger being a PINTA with photos

Blogger apparently does not want to load photos right now. So I'm afraid my return to cat blogging will have to wait until tomorrow!

Tumble is off to the vet tomorrow. Tuffy 2 is ready to return home. I spent an hour in the cat facility tonight, combing, combing, combing... Poor Fluffy. He is so good about it, and he so wants to bite me as I keep pulling at his long fur. Instead he just gives a pathetic meow and lifts one of those huge paws in a warning...

Some of them love it. Buttons thinks a comb is heaven. Even Perci let me comb her for quite awhile tonight. Espie also loves to be combed, but she doesn't need it. Dustin's coat came out in gobs, but it only took one session, and now she's glossy and shed-free. It's amazing how different their coats are.

Storm is long-furred but never gets a mat, and never needs to be combed. Which is a good thing because she starts to whine a warning as soon as she sees the comb in my hand.

I got quite a bit of cat laundry done this evening, cleaned the house, poured out the vodka and whisky since I'm certainly not going to drink it and it still sits here unclaimed, FINALLY sold the lawn tractor (which will hopefully stop the progression of interested farmers appearing at my door every day) and LOOK! I'm getting to bed before midnight!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I know, I know, bad blogger...

Apologies for not blogging. Things have been really busy lately, and for the last two nights I've been burying myself in a book during the late night hours instead of blogging. I'm doing some family things today, and hope to be a better blogger next week!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A different kind of dog post


Another feel-good post

I'm normally not a fan of "one species nursing another" posts, but this one at least seems like a genuine rescue of an animal in need. And besides, after another hour of pushing the mower, it doesn't take much of an excuse to make me smile.

This is fun.

I came in for a break from push-mowing...in a grumpy, sweaty mood I might add...and then I watched this on Gary's blog.

Here is the direct link to the Where The Hell is Matt web site.

I feel better. Back to mowing!

(scroll down below the banner to get to the video).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

And now for the really good news...

Last year, a friend of Valarie's brought her a kitten they had found along our road. She called me up and we went looking for more. We found them.

Tuffy and Buffy were adopted by a wonderful woman who has been very generous with us at their adoption, at holidays, etc. She has been in Europe on business, and has been reading the blog. After returning to the U.S., she came over the other day, with gifts...

...and a proposition. She will send $250 each month for the cats. And she presented me with three months in advance, as she is traveling again until September.

I have put off writing this post, because I wanted it to be thankful, eloquent, and thoughtful. But frankly, I am so overwhelmed with the kindness, that I can only be thankful.

The sculpture she gifted us with reminds her of (in pose, rather than color) her two adopted cats. And the book (also purchased in Europe) is the source of their new names.

Coincidentally, I am a reader of science fiction/fantasy, and have read this book before. So when she told me the new names she had given her kittens, I was familiar with them.

So in honor of her, her cats, and her husband who apparently is smitten with them and cares for them while she is traveling, we are naming this The Leewit Fund, and once our 501(c)(3) comes through and we can begin seriously fund-raising, I hope that this becomes the seed money for a spay/neuter fund for the Spencer area. Currently, it will purchase all the food and cat litter we need for the cat facility each month, plus at least one neuter per month.

Fittingly, the first cat to need help was from the very same person who rescued these kittens. And (subconsciously? coincidentally?) I named him (for his vet records) Tuffy, the same "rescue name" as one of the kittens. Valarie and Craig will probably rename him something else once he returns to their place.

So, thank you. Thank you. THANK you. To the donor of The Leewit Fund and to all of you who have adopted, donated, or just read this blog.

You make all the difference in the world, not just for me, or even for the cats, but for the people who see the cats, and call for help. People who try hard to find help, should find it. You enable them to find it.

Thank you.


Nancy rang my phone this morning (6:15 am, and I even answered!). She had noticed an injured cat around her home, had set a trap, and caught a feral tom cat. I told her I was headed into town anyway to take Tuffy and Cricket to the vet, so I'd grab him on the way through.

Well, "he" turned out to be "she" and very friendly. While my vet will take a male as a last minute add-on, females are another thing. When I saw how busy it was at my vet's, I didn't even mention I had Cat Number Three in the truck. I brought her home, and made an appointment for her next Tuesday.

She has some minor scrapes on her leg, butt, and nose, probably from an encounter with a car. I've named her "Tumble" because Joan needed a name for her appointment at the vet, and here she sits, choosing the nice cool cage pan over the towels, because it's not exactly chilly out tonight.

While at the vet, I ran into a woman who is looking after a colony on West Hill in Ithaca, and a farm in Spencer as well. I told her she was welcome to recovery space at Wildrun, so hopefully she'll be stopping by soon.

Tuffy Two

Valarie and Craig, up the road, have countless cats dumped upon them. They've gotten every newcomer fixed. This last month, this orange tom showed up. At the vet, I gave him the boring name of Tuffy. Upon arriving to pick him up, the vet informed me I already had a Tuffy in my files, so he was dubbed Tuffy Two.

Tuffy Two is no feral. He's as friendly as Bear. He came with an eartip (fight? fanbelt? who knows) but was still in possession of his...ahem...equipment...so it was not a human-made eartip verifying that he was neutered.

He was neutered today, and will be going back to Valarie and Craig in a few days.

Cricket's lone leg

All my personal cats are getting old, and their parts are wearing out. Cricket went off to the vet today when she started gimping around on her lone back leg. I was hoping she'd merely pulled a muscle, but it appears all her joints have small past injuries with resulting arthritis, and she may have torn a ligament as well (simplifying the terminology quite a bit). She's on Metacam for pain (tiny tiny kitty dosage) and her radiographs are off for interpretation. And she's on cage rest as of tomorrow (she's sleeping off her anesthesia now). She's a "pet" cat, so there was no rescue discount (nonetheless, our wonderful vet has gave us an incredible discount for "pet" cat Ivan's surgery last year), but she's worth every penny, given how much she has made me (us) laugh over the years with her three-legged antics.

Only Nell and Squeak (at age 8) are under ten years old. Everyone else is moving into the geriatric range. It's going to be a tough time as they grow older.

The Bear, up close and personal

I was coming back from the vet today in broad daylight (9:45 am) and as I came around the curve on my road, I saw a big black butt disappear into the bushes to the right.

The only NYS critter that big and black is a bear. So I hit the gas, and then the brakes, thinking perhaps I'd catch a glimpse of him/her walking away into the forest.

Well, I forgot there is a gorge on that side of the road. The bear reached that, turned around, and ran back into the road right in front my stopped truck.

I got to see our bear 10 feet off my front bumper. And he/she is a pretty darned big bear! The bear ran across in front of me, and then crashed on up the hillside (into someone else's front yard).


I must say, after seeing him up close, I'll make sure all my outside work is done before it's too dark out. I've seen him quite few times as a big black blur, but now seeing him with his handsome jaws and claws, I think I'll be a bit more cautious from now on!

University of Florida Shelter Medicine Program Coordinator position

*** Please Cross-Post to Interested Individuals ***


The Program Coordinator for the new Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida will coordinate the development and provision of services in core areas including:

(1) Shelter evaluation and extension services, including shelter assessments and provision of disease control consultation to enhance the welfare of animals and the efficiency of programs in achieving their life-saving goals

(2) Training of shelter medicine veterinary professionals and general practitioners to fill the current shortage of skilled providers

(3) Training of veterinary students and technicians in the problems of homeless animals, the animal sheltering system, shelter medicine, and opportunities for careers in the field

(4) Development of new knowledge to solve existing and emerging threats to successful sheltering programs.

The coordinator will be responsible for fiscal administration, personnel management, special event coordination, grant writing, fund raising, program reports, media relations, development of service contracts, web site development, policy and procedure development, and service to the public. In addition to the coordinator, the Shelter Medicine Program will be staffed by three faculty members, three residents, several part-time staff, a research technician, and several part-time consultants and instructors.


Ability to work independently to develop new policies and procedures in support of the Shelter Medicine Program based on research to identify best practices, including budget development, funding source identification and staffing requirements.

Ability to manage administrative and fiscal operations, including budgets, purchasing, personnel, contracting services, billing, and property control.

Ability to serve as liaison between the program and other units and departments as well as private sector shelter clients.

Ability to develop rapport with shelter personnel to facilitate culture of support and collaboration in order to improve shelter operation.

Understand and relate core concepts of epidemiology, disease prevention, management, treatment, and behavior specific to animals in shelters.

Ability to research and prepare program reports.

Previous personnel management experience.

Expertise in conflict resolution.

Preferred skills:

Excellent communication and organizational skills to interact with a wide variety of individuals, including researchers, veterinary personnel, students, shelter managers, and staff. Expertise in commonly used shelter management software preferred.

Expertise in Quickbooks preferred.

Expertise in developing and administering distance learning and continuing education programs preferred.

Previous customer service experience preferred.

Previous web design/management experience preferred.

Previous public relations/marketing experience preferred.

Previous media experience preferred.

Master's degree in an appropriate area of specialization; or a bachelor's degree in an appropriate area of specialization and two years of appropriate experience.


Starting salary range is $35,000 to $40,000 annually, commensurate with education and experience.

All applications must be submitted on-line through the University of Florida employment office. Please apply at https://jobs.ufl.edu and search for Req #0705846.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Independence Year

First off, if you haven't already been sent this link to enjoy your own fireworks display you should really go play with it for 60 seconds. It's one of those sites that's amusing to visit once a year, and you can make the finale last as long as you want.

So what did you do for the 4th of July? It felt odd to me, having a holiday on Friday.

I had a great day. Martha (adopter of Sam) asked me if I would like to help her host/help with a colleague's July 4th party on the lake, for hire.

I love being a support host. Now and then, Martha calls up to ask if I would be interested in pouring wine at an event (the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, Wine on Ice, Empty Bowls, etc.) when an extra hand is needed. Without exception, they are all a great experience.

I am no social butterfly, and the nice thing about helping with hosting is that you have a clearly defined role (food, drink, setting out, cleaning up), but the pace is so fast you are basically under your own direction after the initial instructions are given. And there are plenty of opportunities to talk to people. Because you--after all--have the food, drink, etc.

Therefore you get to meet a ton of great (new!)people, and everything just rolls along enjoyably.

Yesterday the weather was perfect, the lake was gorgeous, and I had no idea so many people shot off fireworks over the water of Cayuga Lake. It was the first time I'd seen the Flares Around the Lake. It was semi-potluck, and the food was incredible. Even better, there were several friends attending as well.

I rank yesterday up there with them most enjoyable July 4th I've ever had...and the bank account is happy, too, with a little seed money for the 2nd floor entrance I wish to put on the house.

If you have any friends or acquaintances who are "event-involved" type people or are event planners, and you are the type of person who laments that they don't meet new people often, consider putting out the message that you'd be available to help, if needed. In my case, it happens perhaps only once a year, so it's not like its a time drain.

And it does put you right in the middle of a new community.

Friday, July 04, 2008

To write, or not to write...

I have been rearranging bookshelves, which means becoming distracted by books. My great aunt Annie Laurie Snorf's journals are on my shelves, and as I was moving them, I flipped open her handtyped poems and found this, which made me smile:

The Amateur's Soliloquy

To write, or not to write, that is the question;
Whether it is nobler to keep one's ravings and
Brainstorms to one's self, or to take up a pen and
With a stroke or two, preserve them. To write, compose,
No more; and by that decision to save the public from
The shock which reading makes it heir to. To write,
Perchance to sell! Aye, there's the rub; for when we
Write what dreams will come of the heights we hope to gain
By our good pen. There's the respect that makes
Calamity of budding authors; for who would help bear the
Scoffs and sneers of editors, the pangs of unappreciated
Genius, the hope delayed, the insolence of critics, but
That the thought of future greatness goads us on? Who'd
These burdens bear, to toil and sweat over a rattling
Typewriter, but for the hope that we may one day find
And editor from whose office no manuscripts are ere
Returned, fires our ambition and makes us rather burn
The midnight oil than die unknown, unsung. Thus ambition
Doth make martyrs of so many.

(photo from Sandovals Signpost (Scroll down or run a "find" on Snorf)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bedtime for Bear

Bear, the new cat, doesn't stay in the house at night, since the "cat dynamics" are not quite worked out, and if he's going to be a permanent resident, we need to take our time introducing Ivan to the idea. So during the day, Bear hangs out on the porch, he comes in early evening to avoid raccoon encounters, and about midnight I take him out to the downstairs quarantine area of the cat facility for the night.

You'd think he'd hate this. Oh no. Just like a dog, Bear is positively pleased to know what is wanted of him.

Time for bed, Bear!


"Beat you down the path, lady!"

"You sure are slow. Can't you keep up?"

"I'd open the door myself if I could."

"Mmmmmm...you serve better food out here. Good night!"


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tea, and setting a schedule

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much on rescue. I have little Rudy in the barn whose picture I should be taking instead of the house cats. And I'll need to, since he'll be going to his new home on Thursday!

The cats like their new couch. Someone didn't, to start. I sat down on it the second day and discovered someone had peed on it. Argh! My cats don't commonly pee on things like this. I'm sure someone didn't think much of the smell of previous cats and Febreeze (Ivan, are your furry little ears ringing?). My fault, though. I should have known to cover it in something they would like to sleep on until they "made it their own." Luckily, the entire cover came off the cushions, and there are 2 cushions in the cover, so the bottom one was not affected. The top cushion is thin and could be washed, along with the cover. I lucked out on that.

Now I keep it covered with a fleece, and they have decided it makes a better bed than a litter pan. And it smells much better now that the Febreeze is washed entirely away. Thank goodness.

The cats both in the house and in the facility are in a turmoil, and so am I, due to the entire lack of a schedule. Their whole system of timing was destroyed when the house went from two humans to one. Nellie still wonders why she doesn't get to finish up cereal milk or oatmeal in the morning. Squeak wonders why there are no treats before bed (when I fall asleep on the couch). Norma wonders why no one comes up to sleep with her half the week. And of course, with no Nick the cat, there is no wet food for the entire clan when he comes in for the night. And now there is Bear, whom they all despise. There is no conversation in the house, so it is quiet, and half the time I even forget to have the radio on.

The cats in the facility get visited at haphazard times, and they don't like that at all.

So I've resolved this holiday weekend to sit down and actually physically write down a schedule. What time to get up. What time to go out to the cats. What time to take breaks at work. What time to give treats. What time to let Bear in the house for his evening visit, and to give everyone some wet food. What time to go out the outdoor cats for the last time (and take Bear out to his cage). What time to go to bed. And go to BED...not fall asleep on the couch.

I am afraid for a short time you all will have to endure my reflective posts while I try to settle myself. I thought I'd split this up on two blogs (this one for cat rescue, the other for my family to check in on my sanity), but that hasn't worked out at all. And break-ups are part of life for cat people, that's for sure. So I'm guessing it's relevant. At least, I will try to keep it so.

Thank you again for everyone who has gotten in touch. If you all have been this great with me, I'm sure you are a blessing to your other friends, and your families as well.

Oh, upon reading this, I realize I put "tea" in the title. Why? Well, I've had to learn to deal with walk-in guests. Walk-in guests? This seldom happened in the past. But now neighbors drop in. I've set the kitchen seating area up so I can actually invite people in to sit down. People honk when they drive by. People call and come for visits.

Previously we had a cabinet for tea. Upon visiting one of my neighbors, I was impressed that there was no "would you like some tea?" when I walked in the door (upon which I would normally say "Oh, no, but thank you").

No indeed, she just fired up the burner, put the water on, pointed me to a chair, and cut me some coffee cake. The tea was ready in an instant. I was impressed. So the small cabinet where our tea has been quaintly imprisoned has been packed up, and I put the tea in a basket. I can bring it right over to the table so visitors can choose, and maybe I'll even become settled enough to have homemade bread on hand someday, as well.

There is of course always coffee on in the morning.

I think I still have a bread machine? (checks pantry). Yes, I do. Handmade isn't likely, but even bread out a machine would be a step up, for me.