Friday, October 16, 2009

Big Woods Attack! AKA El Sucio, Cat of the Week

Well, no pics because I JUST got my camera back, but I wanted to relate a little story that happened about a week ago when my niece (9) and nephew (4) were staying with us. Overall, we had a great time. They are welcome back any time and hopefully next time my other nephew (7) can come, too!

So, the other night after dinner, we were having a dance party of sorts (I like to move it, move it, anyone?) and generally merry-making and fun-having.
Suddenly, a god-awful racket kicked up from our front porch. Emma and I ran out there to see what was going on and found Ladybird and Striper looking on as Sucio fought ferociously with what looked like Trusty. As I was yelling and trying to figure out WHY Trusty was attacking Sucio, Emma cried out, "It's a raccoon!!"

And it was.

About that time, as thoughts such as "I need a gun!" "I need a big stick" "Here's a big stick!" were running through my head (I vaguely remember shouting things to Adam, but have no idea what they were), the raccoon took off across the yard. Sucio ran up the porch posts onto the rafters (in about .2 seconds).

In the following moments, we got Sucio down from the porch, Emma helped round up and account for the other cats (Striper and Ladybird split when the raccoon went barreling past them, Trusty showed up moments later like, "whoa, what happened?") and I inspected Sucio for wounds. Didn't see anything at first and I thought we were going to get lucky.
Short of it, we weren't.
He's got a huge "V" of skin flapping on his left hind leg, right at the hock.

Trip to the emergency vet.
Twice daily medications, general surveillance.
Everything will likely be fine, he was up to date on his rabies, thank God. He got a booster, some anti-biotics, wound cleaning/care etc. He's got a big bandage on it and we're hoping the skin will heal and reattach, otherwise, it'll have to be cut off, and the wound will just have to scar over, which will take a lot longer.
He's had to go back to the vet for bandage assessment and we had to switch anti-biotics because the first ones were making him puke all over the house. Which is just about the last thing anyone needs.

Don't think the raccoon was rabid, because he sure lit out of there pretty quick once I showed up and started shouting :-). I have to say we're a bit proud of El Sucio for sticking it to the ol' 'coon, he held his own! Cat of the Week!!
Anyway, he's doing well, seems to be enjoying laying around on Buck's lambskin all day and doesn't seem to have any inclination to dart outside, even though he's spent the last several months out-of-doors.

This is good, as when we move, we'll most likely be keeping all the cats inside for awhile.

Oops-- didn't know we were moving?? That's a whole 'nother post...

Thursday, August 6, 2009


We've been really into the idea of Yurts lately. Not only because of a recent fascination with Mongolia (Cave of the Yellow Dog,anyone?).
Well, partly because of that. But for other reasons, too.
I like the circular aspect. The Shakers built circular barns-- not to give the Devil a corner to hide in, at least that's what I've heard. Strangely reminiscent of certain Feng Shui principles of not having places for chi to stagnate (I guess it's strange, maybe there is some well-known link between American Shakers and the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui-- I admit to not knowing much else about the Shakers besides their enthusiasm for round buildings and nice, sturdy furniture).

A huge difference between these round buildings and a yurt is portability-- unlike Shakers, Mongolians are an historically nomadic people, so yurts are traditionally a very portable structure.

There are a few manufacturers of yurts in the US (Yurt is actually a Russian word, Ger is the Mongolian name). The 30' (diameter) is about 700 square feet- more than enough room! Okay, maybe not more than enough, but enough. Especially if you live in the vast, open stretches of the steppes of Mongolia, or, more likely for us, a big field.
A Mongolian yurt.
A Mongolian yurt on the inside.

There's plenty on the internet about yurts, and all different types, from fancy-pants yurts like these:

to simple yurts like this one:

and even this American adaptation of a yurt (with perhaps a little inspiration from Tolkien- note the grass roof and round roof door) : (this one is neat. Not technically a yurt, but still neat.)

Here are some step-by-step photos for the setting up of a typical yurt.

The prices vary from place to place, and there are lots of extras you can get (insulation, thicker roof canvas, extra windows/doors, composting toilets, woodstoves, &c.) but seems like a standard 30 footer would run you in the neighborhood of $8-10,000.
They supposedly last for years, and you can replace the canvas as needed-- most sites say their roofs are guaranteed for 15 years.

How about a tree yurt? (I'm guessing the round decking is on top of the square support, otherwise, well, you'd fall out the sides, wouldn't you?)

A bright, colorful tree yurt!

And a well-made yurt can withstand a pretty decent (I might even say "brutal") winter.

We're also big fans of the tipi. I mean, who isn't? Again, I like the circular set up. I had a friend that house-sat at a house with a tipi, a big one like these, and it was really cool. Maybe we could have one as our "guest room." Anyone want to come visit?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cat of the Week-- Trusty

This is Trusty. He is four and a half years old, male neutered domestic shorthair silver (or just plain ol' grey) tabby. We got him (for free) as a six-week-old kitten, and as we drove away from his birth family on that stormy June eve, he never looked back. He sat quietly in my lap looking around with interest and not a speck of fear or hesitancy, and then he fell asleep.

Baby Trusty:

While he has won the coveted title "Cat of the Week" before, this is a somewhat rare occasion. "Cat of the Week" is a weekly or biweekly contest we hold here in our cabin, based on many different factors: good behavior, wild antics, bringing the most gumballs and sticks on to the porch, sleeping in cute/funny places, &c. More often than not, Trusty gets the less-coveted "Not Cat of the Week". Mostly because, well, Trusty is kind of a jerk.

Instances of this would be his propensity to take up an entire human's worth of the bed, refusing obstinately to move or even budge, really.
Most cats will jump up if you hiss at them, nudge them, or attempt to lift them, Trusty goes completely limp and forces you to really commit to hefting his considerable bulk off the bed.

Also, he tends to give dirty looks.
It is true that most cats give people dirty looks, but for some reason Trusty's looks seem extra loathsome. Of course, when this is your dad, can you really blame him?

He can be sweet if the mood strikes him. And he does sleep in cute/funny places, as well as have some pretty great wild antics. But underneath it all, he's still Trusty, and I guess part of what that means is ephemeral and cannot be captured in this blog. Maybe the pictures will help.

Trusty in boxes:

Trusty and Sophie. Notice their faces. Quite different thoughts, don't you think? It's not so much that he's a bad sport, but he's not exactly a good sport, either. Though I remember this day, and I was impressed with his patience. He eventually did swat at her, but it was mostly just bluff, and probably because I was laughing at them... He may have gotten Cat of the Week for this photo shoot...

Trusty has always been a fan of the hammock...

Well, almost always...

(This was taken immediately after he fell off the hammock- not such a big fan now, are we Trusty?)

Oh, yeah, and then there was that time that we came home from work and found poor Trusty waiting on the porch with a hugely swollen face. We let him in the house, where he took himself straight to bed and slept for several hours. The swelling started to go down, but he had this big welt above his eye. Suddenly, one day, about a week later, I was looking at him and I gasped... no, it couldn't be... could it?

Yes, it was.
Someone (our neighbor) shot him with a BB gun.
So, he's lucky he's not blind, for sure.

Trusty has always been mostly Adam's cat. It was Adam, after all, who saw a picture of Trusty and his sisters on the internet and said (to my surprise) "I want that one!" So, it made sense that when Buck was born, Trusty wanted to include himself in the father/son bonding (as older son).

Not that Buck minded at all.

And some more photos...

Trusty enjoys walking in the woods with us. Cat of the Week!!

Cat of the Week!!

Carpet Pet of the Week!!

Cute sleeping position! Cat of the Week!!

Cat of the Week!!

Not really Cat of the Week material, but not bad, not bad. Keep trying. You look a little stiff.

He is a pretty boy. Keep up the good work, Trusty. You get Cat of the Week!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Buck's First Ride

Let me preface this by saying that it was my dream that Buck would ride a horse before he could walk. Well, that didn't happen, but I finally got Buck on a horse! And was not disappointed.

Can't believe we didn't get a video, but you get the point.
Buck was so eager to get on the horse that they actually let him skip in line in front of the bigger kids. He was squealing and would cry every time the horses started walking away with their riders. I had a thought that he would get a little unsure when the horse started walking, but he absolutely loved it. He was so happy to be on that horse! (her name is Candy, by the way)

This was at Flintlock Farm, a primarily Morgan Horse operation where I take riding lessons (my Mother's Day present). The folks here are really nice, laid-back, and know a ton about Morgans. They had a barn party this weekend, with food, demos, pony rides, and ((wait for it)) ... horse painting. Yes, painting. Horse. Don't worry, there are pictures.

The other lady in the picture is Anne, my instructor. She and her husband Rob run the barn and do all the training/lessons. They have riders from 4 up to 50. They do everything from Western Pleasure to English Pleasure (two very different disciplines!) and every style in between. I should probably do a post the differences between them. I'll work on that...
Unfortunately, Buck napped through the demos, so I don't have any pictures from that. The horses are just beautiful-- some of them are just showy as can be-- they pick their feet way up, arch their necks and tails, and are generally big show-offs. These are the ones that sell for thirty grand!! (I've set my sights somewhat lower after learning this). Here's "Harley," driving (from the Flintlock Farms website)

Buck and Anne and Rob's little boy, who is just a few months older than Buck.

And this is their daughter- she just turned 5 and is probably already a better rider than I am...

You may think that this little boy is offering his tractor to Buck, but you'd be wrong. This is actually baby language for, "See this? It's mine!! You can't have it, so don't even try!"

"I said, don't even try!!"

And here is Candy again, being painted, and taking it like a saint...

All in all, it was a really fun day. Buck even got to sit on one of the fancy show horses, Rose, which of course, we failed to capture on camera. He didn't want to get down, either!! All the horses are very friendly, friendliness being a characteristic of the Morgan breed, but I think that they had a special affinity for Buck!

I also think this proves, more than ever, that we need our own horse(s).
I'm sure you will agree.