Advent, My Way #4

A pretty wreath.

img_5590

But something is missing . . .

Of course! It needs a kitty in a red tulle tutu!

img_5593

img_5597-1

Advertisements

A Happy Ending, in the Garden

I came late to gardening, only really getting started in the last dozen years or so.

There was no real family tradition of growing flowers at my house or, if there was one, I was oblivious.

My husband and I have learned mostly by trial and error . . . lots of trials, lots and lots of errors. But we had some successes and were pleased.

Then, five years ago, our area was hit by flooding. The lake we live on reached record-high water levels and stayed there for 6 weeks. (As you know, you can click on the small photos to see more detail)

Our lawns and gardens were covered in water and sludge for weeks, and everything died.

Everything died.

IMG_1069

We had a tabula rasa. A nasty, brown blank slate.

IMG_0033

So, you will understand the awe I feel now, all spring and summer, when beauty happens here. I am dumbstruck that we have accomplished so much, with so little knowledge but hard work and patience.

The flowers amaze me, enthrall me.

IMG_2651

This pergola stands where the dirt was in the previous photo. It’s now blanketed in honeysuckle and wisteria.

In spite of all this beauty, only one part of the garden matters to some people.

We grow catnip under the protective cover of staked wire baskets so “some people” won’t rip it out by the roots and eviscerate the little plants.

They get drunk on catnip, I find my intoxication elsewhere.

There’s A New Guy in Town: SmoJo

IMG_7912He couldn’t use one of his front paws at all. He had been abandoned by his owner, an owner who hadn’t done one single thing to protect him against disease or fix his lameness.

He had been lurking around our house all summer. Always skittish, always limping away, as quickly as he could, with his front left paw extended out in front of him.

He was beautiful, with dark gray fur and golden eyes. He had the biggest paws, with extra toes, the size of catcher’s mitts or snowshoes!

So, of course, I fed him.

We “met” this cat well before our new kitten came to live here. At first, we didn’t know if he belonged to someone or was a stray. All we knew was he was hurting and needed help.

He started out distrustful and very skittish. But he was utterly, utterly reliable about coming to be fed. Every morning about 5:30, every evening about 8:30, he’d be in the same spot on the driveway, just waiting.

It took a few days before I could get near him and a few more before I could touch him. Then he let me pet him.

One day, after he’d eaten and I petted him, he rolled over and let me rub his belly. Once we took that step forward, we started working on the next one. I picked him up one day. He looked at me like I was crazy, struggled a little, and then seemed to say, “Oh, okay.”

Another day, I moved his bowl into our front hall and he came in to eat, while I held the door open behind him. A few days later, I let the door close. He freaked and threw himself against the glass, and then seemed to say, “Oh, okay.”

We knew we wanted to keep him and get him to the vet and fix his foot. We took the fateful step of giving him a name, calling him “Smokey Joe.” Along the way, we learned that he had an owner, who was on the verge of eviction from his place down the road.

We predicted, and were right, sadly, that when the guy left, he’d leave SmoJo behind.

We waited. The guy moved out. He left this cat, as well as a kitten and a dog, behind.

As hateful as that was, so many people are truly good. All three animals had homes within a day.

We made arrangements with our vet and one morning, when Smokey came in to eat, I scooped him up and put him in the cat carrier. He panicked and threw himself against the sides and then seemed to say, “Oh, okay.”

Blood tests showed he was free of disease. A physical exam showed that his lameness was a result of an ingrown claw. He is polydactyl, with those extra toes, and one of the claws had grown sideways, deep into his flesh. The wound was abscessed and the infection was tenacious. The solution was declawing, basically amputating, that one toe.

IMG_3887Through it all he was gentle and stoic. He seemed to say, “Oh, okay.”

He recuperated and took antibiotics without fuss. He wore a plastic cone for a couple of weeks. He has been inside, this cat who lived outdoors and had the run of the world, without trying to get out, for 6 weeks now. We let him out yesterday, for the first time, and he didn’t venture out of our sight.

And he has become Gigi’s best friend. He came to live with us about a week after she did. Our other cats are aloof and rather frightened of them both and they have turned to each other.

They play rough.

The calm before the crazy

The calm before the crazy

Fun was had here . . .

Fun was had here . . .

They sleep curled together.

They make us laugh.

Smokey has reclaimed his lost kittenhood and plays long and hard. He loves a catnip hedgehog. And Gigi.

If a cat could feel such a thing, you’d swear he was grateful. Pet him, and he flings himself at your feet, and turns his belly up for a rub.

We’ve told him he is with us for good, that he doesn’t have to worry about being hungry or cold, or living in pain.

He looks at us with those big eyes of deepest gold, and seems to say, “Oh, okay. And thanks.”IMG_8406

There’s A New Girl in Town: OMGigi!

IMG_7565

What do we call her? One word.

Trouble.

Gigi!

She’s long and lean and sassy.

IMG_3863

A perpetual motion machine, as if she has a hummingbird up her butt.

Until she wears herself out.

If I don’t show you new weaving for awhile, you’ll understand why!

Thank heaven for little girls.IMG_7572