18 October, 2010

Life goes on.

Things are finally settling down here at the Manor after all the wedding excitement. Daniel’s father headed out on Saturday and my parents wandered off home to Roanoke today. We got our usual grocery-shopping trip in, I got a final exam done and a couple midterms, with one more to go on Monday. Today I’ve even managed to fit in some spinning, I’m nearly to the bottom of the bag of heathered purple wool that my Mom got me some time ago, and as I practice predictably the spinning is getting better. We’ve also managed to pull together the packet for Daniel’s adjustment of status so he can stay in the country, and got to work on the woefully late thank you notes for the wedding.

Briar Rose and Noodlehead are the only two cats we see outside, and I still have no clue what happened to Briar Rose’s kittens. Grace is buried on the back acre, at the foot of a little clump of sassafras trees, which I felt was appropriate. When land is clear-cut, sassafras is the first thing to spring up on it, growing off its tap roots like weeds. Since the flavoring extract from the roots was banned due to an association with liver cancer, the trees have no great value, and since they die off quickly when overtopped by other trees, people tend to disregard them as, more or less, worthless weeds that will go away if you ignore them hard enough. They are not unlike my Manor cats in this. But I cherish my little sassafras trees, who are for the blighted back acre valuable agents of resurrection: they supply dead leaves to rebuild the topsoil and their tough roots help break up the rock-hard clay dirt. And I cherish the Manor cats, adorable little personalities that they are.

Grace was not a terribly social cat with most humans, but with me and with other cats she was pure love, head-bumping us all in the excitement of feeding time, rubbing on my legs and the heads of other cats with nothing but pure joy that once again the thumb monkey was here with the good stuff. She was getting nicely round, putting on a thick winter coat and a bit of a layer of winter fat, as well. She had a name, she was known, she was loved, and I miss her.

28 September, 2010

Game-scouting camera: coolest invention ever.

The camera works fantastically but heavy rain has kept my primitive satellite internet from staying up long enough to get the best of yesterday’s pics uploaded last night. Flickr Uploadr is working them now, and I have made myself mildly late for my morning routine to post them just for you!. You can see the night-time pics are all grainy black and white, but they do show you a nice view of the plastic pan lid that serves as a water dish, the aluminum pan that holds the dry cat food, and the legs of the rocking chair and the regular chair, plus the little table the food pan sits under. All that stuff is sitting about six feet away from the camera.

A grainy black and white photograph.  A tabby and white cat, Noodlehead, stands with body three quarters to the camera but face directly pointed at it.  Because she's too close, the infrared flash has blown out all detail of her face and chest except her eyes with their enormous pupils.

I’m not sure what attracted Noodlehead’s attention; the camera makes no noise but does have the infrared flash on it as well as a blinking red LED and a green LED that lights steady when it’s taking a picture. It clearly didn’t startle any of the animals, there were four separate possum incidents and a raccoon as well as Noodlehead, Grace, and Briar Rose. What I find kind of neat is that their eyes brilliantly reflect the infrared flash, just as you’d expect with a regular flash.

First Possum:
First Possum.  A skinny possum walks under a rocking chair, stretching its pointy nose to the aluminum cake pan full of dry cat food.

Raccoon:
A skinny coon stands next to the feeding dish, looking just over the camera's left shoulder, as it were.

Second Possum, affectionately named “Pudgy Possum” because he’s clearly been nomming quite a bit of cat food:
A fat possum wanders away from the camera, body at a three quarters angle to the camera.  Be grateful I didn't upload all the pictures of possum butt that the camera got in the half hour he was on the porch eating.

Third Possum:
A skinny possum approaches the feeding dish from underneath the rocking chair.

Fourth Possum, note Noodlehead in the background:
A very nice profile shot of a possum headed toward the camera with head turned to keep one eye on Noodlehead, who has evidently just told the possum to get off her porch and stop eating her food.

Five Oh Five Feeding Time:
A woman in a robe, pajamas, and an ankle brace, seen from the waist down as she crouches on the porch to put wet cat food on a plate.  She is just completing a pet on Grace, who is eating from the plate but is mostly unseen due to Noodlehead being in the way.  That's me!

Grace notices the camera:
Grace, a mostly grey and yellow tortoiseshell cat with a little white, crouches at the wet food plate (hidden behind the water dish) and looks straight at the camera, eye lasers engaged.

5 September, 2010

Manor cats update

Grace is no longer nursing and her milk has dried up. Since I never saw her kittens, I don’t know what happened to them.

Briar Rose is still full of milk, and therefore skinny as a rail and hungry all the time. I only see her early in the morning at feeding time. I’m kind of hoping when Daniel is here all the time, he’ll see her more often and can work on socializing her while I’m at work, to make it more likely that she’ll bring us the kittens.

Noodlehead continues to camp out at the Manor, and indeed spends a lot of time hanging out in the fence which is slightly nerve-wracking on weekends. During the week it’s a clever move for her; the roaming dogs of the neighborhood can’t get in there to bother here and there’s lizards and bugs to hunt to supplement the wet and dry food I give her.

I thought I saw Dreadnought the other morning. Hard to tell in the dark, though. I hope it was him, and that he didn’t die after I took Emmaline.

The toms have been mostly MIA now that the girls are no longer in heat (o please let us be done with pregnancy for the year). I suspect they’re coming up when I’m not around, they never have been as social as the girls.

25 August, 2010

Feline Politics

Who wants an update on the adult manor cats? I really need to get pics of them but it is difficult. Previously I had thought Grace and Briar Rose, the two calicos, were afraid of me, but since Emmaline has moved inside, Grace and Briar Rose have both been up to solicit attention as well as get the gooshyfuds. Seeing how aggressive Emmaline is toward other cats, I have to wonder if they weren’t actually afraid of Emms.

Efforts to integrate Emmaline into the house are still going very poorly. She just will not share food or even food spots with other cats but instead charges them and starts swinging. I have also tried and tried to get new pics of her, but it’s difficult to do because she is so full of love for people that you can’t get far enough away to get a shot. While her sons may have gotten their coats and colors from their fathers, they clearly got their loveable and loving natures (and also the auto-purr on petting) from their mother.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t confirmed Briar Rose is nursing; she’s not quite friendly enough to let me get a look at her tummy. Grace definitely is, and Noodlehead definitely is not. We’ll see if Grace brings her kittens to me when she’s ready to get rid of them, and if I can work my deferalification magic on this batch, too. Fingers crossed!

22 August, 2010

In which I am frustrated by life.

So I’ve gone from three pregnant cats hanging around the Manor to zero pregnant cats hanging around the Manor, with no actual reduction in the number of cats, just the number of pregnancies. Grace and Noodlehead show up every morning like clockwork for breakfast, Briar Rose is a more occasional visitor. Noodlehead just gave birth yesterday. Or at least she looked preggers when I gave her breakfast, and around dinner time there she was, significantly thinner and vastly cuddly just like she was LAST time she gave birth.

The fur around Grace’s nipples is definitely stuck down with kitten spit, we’ll see about Noodlehead who either gave birth somewhere in the immediate vicinity of the Manor, had another litter of stillborn kittens, or had live kittens but is ignoring them. She heavily contemplated coming in the house despite dogs and despite the fact that last time I brought her in she tried to go through a wall. Sigh. If I didn’t have resident cats to protect from potential diseases and parasites, I’d let her wander in at her own speed, but as it is I’m defending the Usual Suspects here and feeling slightly overwhelmed with cats.

At least by the time Grace’s kittens are old enough to be brought around (and possibly Briar Rose’s and Noodlehead’s, if there are any) Daniel will be here and I’ll have some help on the love, attention, and deferalification of small fuzzballs. But Jesus, I need to figure out how to get the girls spayed. The primary problem (well, after the part where I don’t want to take them away from potential kittens for a day and a half) being that all the vets want a week’s notice and it’s not like the girls are amenable to me being their social secretary.

But I’ll just have to figure it out, because I can’t keep doing kittens, and neither can they.

14 August, 2010

First tiny terrorist successfully embedded.

Zeke (Intrepid) went off to his new people today. He was a jewel in the carrier on the way, purring and sleeping and generally being laid-back. I’ve gotten an update from his new people already, and within a couple hours he was ready to explore, claim his new digs, and demand worship from the thumb monkeys with whom he finds himself.

My little kittenboy done good. His whiskery, charming face has snagged him a most excellent home with kind people who understand that sometimes kittens just have to climb your leg if you don’t pet them fast enough. And I didn’t even cry when I left him there, so go me. I’m just kind of kicking myself for not having gotten a pic of him with his new monkey slavespeople.

Tomorrow, his brothers go out to opposite points of the compass. My bedroom will be all mine again, but I can’t help thinking it will feel a little empty. Then again, Grace is definitely nursing, so…

9 August, 2010

My Shedder loves me.

The scene: Manor of Mixed Blessings, 0300. I am passed out on the futon in the living room because it was easier than trying to go to bed in my bedroom.[1]

Zille: Pssssst.
Me: Mfgsrkt?
Tink: Shhhh.
Zille: PSSSSSST.
Me: Wha?
Tink: SHHHHH.
Zille: I had a thought. What if we played fetchy?
Me: What time is it?
Tink: Sleeping time. #$#* off, Zille.
Zille: I am deeply wounded by Tink’s mean words.
Tink: They will be mean actions if you don’t stop.
Me: No fighting. It is three in the morning.
Zille: Could we play fetchy?
Me: No.
Zille: Are you sure?
Tink: I said SHUT UP.
Beowulf: Are we getting up?
Me: Yes, I am sure. No, we are not getting up. Tink, stop instigating and go back to sleep.
Tink: I didn’t instigate anything. She started it. And I’m not speaking to you, you had adventures without me.
Zille: Just a little fetchy?
Beowulf: Are there squirrels?
Me: No fetchy. No squirrels. Fine, Tink, sulk.
Zille: A teeny weeny bit of fetchy? Just throw it once? Look, I have the ball right. here.
Me: Ow. Thank you for dropping a tennis ball on my head.
Zille: It’s not problem. Maybe you could throw it?
Me: NO. NO FETCHY AT THREE IN THE MORNING.
Zille: Can I suck your toes?
Me: Fine. You can suck my toes. Just let me sleep.
Tink: If she gets to suck your toes, I’m going to stick my tongue in your ear.
Me: I DIDN’T EVEN WANT DOGS. I WANTED PET ROCKS.

In other news, Grace skipped breakfast yesterday morning but did show up for dinner, no longer looking pregnant. So now I get to keep tabs on her to see if she’s nursing so I know if any kittens survived. Noodlehead and Briar Rose are still massively pregnant, though.

[1] SLEEPING IN MY BEDROOM THESE DAYS MEANS MAKING A CHOICE: GO THROUGH ALL THE HASSLE OF MOVING THE KITTENS TO THE BATHROOM FOR THE NIGHT, OR GET INCESSANTLY BARKED AND WHINED AT FROM TINK AND ROO ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CLOSED DOOR? IT WAS EASIER TO JUST FALL OVER IN THE LIVING ROOM.

15 July, 2010

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry….

So Astute is indoors. And now, so is Intrepid! WOOOOO! Score two for the good guys, but now that no kittens will spend the night alone, I’m pausing. I also accidentally trapped Grace. Whoops. I let her out and told her to have some dry food instead.

Anyway, here is a picture of teeny Astute, who would like to be wary of me but can be seduced via cheek scritchins into a teeny purr that rattles his whole body. Also a picture of Intrepid, who says SCREW YOU THUMB MONKEY.[1]

Astute, a teeny grey and white kitten, crouches on a blue bathroom rug.  His cheek is being gently scritched by a hand that is relatively ginormous compared to him, and he is half asleep.  And also purring, which you can't see in the picture but will have to take my word for.

Intrepid says SCREW YOU THUMB MONKEY.  A teeny long-haired tabby and white kitten with substantially white underpinnings and a white nose glares nervously at the camera, ears half-pinned.  Be grateful you cannot hear his fearsome growls, gentle reader.

[1] NOT MY LINE. I STOLE IT FROM KATE, WHO STOLE IT FROM HER FRIEND DANABREN. BUT IT’S A GREAT LINE AND IT REALLY FITS AND ALSO I NEARLY SPIT ORANGE JUICE ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD WHEN KATE CAME OUT WITH IT.

11 July, 2010

A Post Of Happy Things

1) The big yellow dog I pulled out of the road is no longer on PetFinder. His deadline was tomorrow, so I’m thinking this can only mean something good for him. I may never know if his family came and got him, someone adopted him, or he got pulled by rescue, but I’m glad to know he’s out before his literal drop-dead date. And if you’re reading this and you pulled him because of my desperate plea or someone boosting the signal, let me know how he’s doing, k? Also please get him a good fence and let him ride up front in the car because he hates riding in back.

2) The Best Mother Ever saw Emmaline’s kittens while I was in England visiting Daniel. Apparently there’s 3 of them, I’ve seen one at a distance. They’re quite skittish and feral. It’s probably time to buy a cat trap.

3) The Best Mother Ever donated a quilt to be bought by an angel, so Noodlehead’s spay is covered. I don’t want to do Emmaline until the kittens don’t need her anymore, and that will be likely after I start school again and the American taxpayer can fund it. Also if I get a cat trap I can do the toms if I can catch them, although I highly suspect I’ll be trapping Noodlehead and Emmaline and Grace a lot.

2 June, 2010

I wish I had a clever title here.

Cats are evil. I’m pretty sure Noodlehead is about to give birth, she came up to say hello and get love but didn’t want her gooshy food. Neither could I convince her to either hang around or perhaps come in the house, oh no.

Then Emmaline came up to finish off the gooshy food. Bringing a kitty I thought was Briar Rose until she got closer. Gentle readers, allow me to introduce to you Grace:
A calico kitty walks toward the camera.  She is mostly grey and yellow, with white under her chin and chest and white on each neat little paw.

She was a little nervy about the noise of my camera, but so was Emmaline in the beginning, who is now not only a consistent visitor, but incredibly affectionate to boot.
Grace stares at the camera, giving you an excellent view of her green eyes and her lovely face, which is mostly brown-grey tabby except for her right cheekbone, which is splashed with golden yellow.

At least she was pleased with the food on offer, and provided the obligatory tongue shot to prove that she belongs to the tribe of Manor Cats:
Grace

Thanks to my friend Kate over at Om Shanti Handcrafts for naming her! For those keeping score at home, we’re up to four cats who let me get within 5 feet: Noodlehead (the tabby and white with less white), the original, who brought up Emmaline (the tabby and white with more white), who brought up Briar Rose (the calico with more white) and then Grace (the calico with less white). Then there are the three toms, Patriarch (tabby and white), Romeo (grey and white), and Orange Tom What Hasn’t Got A Name Yet (solid orange). And those are the ones I know about. Eep.