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.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Garden Blooms

I've tried over the last couple years to have some summer color added to the yard-- in addition to the spring bloomers (daffodils, tulips, phlox, irises, and a host of annuals), I've finally got some plants that bloom in the heat! Very important around here. It's been dry, dry, dry, after so much rain at the beginning of June, but with a few exceptions that I've been babying, most of my perennials are thriving.

Here's the purple coneflower in the front bed-- is it just me or are everyone else's coneflowers more purple? Mine seem awfully pale. But awfully pretty, too! And the blooms last forever!

I got these Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) as the local plant sale was closing up for the season- two for five dollars. They were pretty root-bound, but I've been babying them a bit, and they seem to be doing fine. They like water from the do all the plants...

My first attempt at roses. I got two bushes. The tea rose has a lovely yellow flower, but I only got a few little blooms and they weren't that great and didn't last long and they're all done now. Either the bush isn't very hardy (surprise-- roses are susceptible to all sorts of ailments...bugs, blights, etc.) or I've got it in too much shade. I've got a place to move it in the fall that gets more sun, so we'll see. But, the climbing rose I got is doing very well after a late start. This is the "America" variety, according to the package it's a very hardy little bush and also disease resistant. I think that I've seen several of these along fences and mailboxes around here. I think it's just beautiful, and it smells very sweet!

And it even has a new bud!

Here's a few shots of the fishpond Adam and Andy built over the winter. It's doing really well. Our 12 cent goldfish are flourishing (and getting HUGE) and eating all the mosquito larvae, and the plants are doing well and cleaning and oxygenating the water. Balance. You can see several goldfish on the right side of the pond, gathered near the rocks.

The crocosmia that were such a pain in the front beds (spreading, falling over, not blooming) we dug up completely and tossed most of them down by the pond. We replanted a few of them and they've really taken to their new spot(that's them in the orange).
The water hyacinth also bloomed-- and it was beautiful-- but it only lasted a day and no more have bloomed yet.

The ever-faithful petunia... this little guy is still going, even though Buck picks every flower that it blooms...

I've seen bigger butterfly bushes, for sure, but our little one is plugging along. It's getting a bit past it's prime as far as blooming goes, but it's still chugging along. The hummingbirds love this thing!

The story behind this butterfly bush is pretty cool... as we were moving into our Big Woods Cabin from our Little House on Alaska Lane, I was lamenting the absence of a butterfly bush at our new house. Our place there had a big old butterfly bush that I loved, but it had white blossoms, and as you all know, I prefer purple. So I had decided that I was going to have to go find a purple butterfly bush for the new house. This was before we had "settled" the yard-- when we moved in, everything was a mess, and nothing was growing except weeds and grapevine, there were saplings encroaching all around the house and there was trash everywhere. We'd lived at the old place almost 2 years and had done a lot of work in the yard and had really spiffed it up. It took about three trips to transport all the plants I dug up and took with us-- and I left quite a few, too...
But anyway, I was out doing something with the dog fence-- taking down the electric fence wire, I think, and was sweating and getting bitten by mosquitos and covered in dirt as I worked, generally just pissed off, and I happened to look up and -- what do you know -- there was a little purple butterfly bush about a foot and a half tall. Right there along the fence line. I'd never noticed it before, indeed, it was as if it had been put there a'purpose just for me to find that day.
So quick as you like, I dug it up, potted it, brought it here, planted it, and there it is. It also serves as the memorial tree to two bunnies, a tiny kitten and a zebra finch that are buried around its base (no, I haven't been able to kick my pet cemetery habit).

This is very similar to the butterfly bush, and the butterflies and hummingbirds love it, too. I think I am remembering its name is hyssop.

And here are the real show-stoppers... the lilies! My little yellow day lily is all bloomed out, but there are some new lilies in the flowerbed this summer...
This one is the Nosferatu Lily that Grant and Joie gave me for my birthday. The picture on the i.d. tag looked a little darker, almost black. Mine is more purplish-red, but I love it just the same!! (I'm pretty sure this will be Mina's favorite, too...)

The blooms last about two days-- this one was already beginning to wilt. There should be several more days' worth of blooms, though, once I got it in the ground, it started flourishing!

And here's my "rescue" lilies. Found these two in landscaping pots under our old neighbors' deck. I said to myself, I said, "Now that looks like a lily. And if it's not a lily, it's something." And so we planted them right in the front beds and just look! Around here, we don't buy plants, we just find them...

Here's the other one, a beautiful, pure white lily...

And here is the original Lily, still recovering from her TPLO surgery (but that's another post...)

Buck is quite the gardener. He really enjoys my garden urn, I use it to make both "Sun Water" and "Moon Water." Ask me about it. I have had to take it out of the beds, though, otherwise he tramples everything trying to get to it!

I have tried to encourage him to smell the flowers, not pick them...

The old-fashioned yellow day lily is done blooming for this year, but it's seeds are just getting started...

Yesterday Buck was very interested in these little seed pods. We emptied out a couple and planted them in two different spots. We'll see if anything comes up!

One of my favorites is the lovely oxalis. It shares a family tree with the shamrock. I have four of these planted around the yard, all from a plant I grew up with, that my mom got from my dad's grandmother... I sent a couple small plants back up to the hill in VA to my sister and niece, and they're doing great up there, so it's come full circle. This is a really neat plant. It has these tubers that it puts out, you can divide them up easily and it grows great, stands the winters, and blooms all the time. They are a little stressed with the heat, but it's not stopping the blooming! Usually the leaves are much fuller and they look like a big green ball.

My daisies are actually looking better lately. The flowers seemed too scrawny to me, but lately they are filling out a bit. These came from Adam's mom, and were planted by Dad and Angela last year right after Buck was born.

Can you find the boy?

But we all must agree, the brightest, most beautiful bloom in the whole garden is that pretty little blue-eyed boy!