Friday, November 20, 2009

Cha Cha at the Vet

We took Cha Cha to the vet last night for her yearly dose of shots. It was the first time taking her since she's been old enough to make her own decisions as a cat. I think I may have been more nervous about the whole thing than she was. I stressed myself out further wondering if she could sense my fear and whether it was adding to her anxiety. Despite all my worry, we got her in the carrier, to the vet's office, and onto the examination table with no problems.

Some of you may know our other cat, Mao Mao. Mao Mao only sees the vet every three years. These were vet's orders after some particularly traumatic vet visits. As a kitten she jumped on the back of the vet's neck and went into attack mode. Kitty gloves were a necessary part of the subduing process. One vet suggested she was not fit to be a pet. Another office tried to keep her calm during an overnight visit by covering her cage with craft paper labeled, "Caution!" Mao Mao gets so worked up at the vet that we have had to resort to a very unorthodox manner of examination and treatment. We take Mao Mao to her favorite place: the Urso's house in the country. She runs around outside for a few days, eats expensive gourmet cat food, and luxuriates in the care of Josh's mother who brushes her with this fancy olive wood brush with natural boar bristles. Then two nice farm ladies show up with long braided blond hair and a butterfly net. Mao Mao has been sequestered in the bathroom. The ladies use the net and a towel and do the dirty work in a matter of minutes. Sometimes the commotion causes Mao Mao to lose a little bladder control but otherwise, it is relatively painless. After a quick kitty bath, she is out the door once again to see what those chipmunks are up to.

This had previously been my only experience with adult cat vet visits. Mao Mao trained me to expect hysteria. Luckily, our little Cha Cha is different. The vet-tech-in-training had little trouble getting her on the scale. (Almost 11 pounds! I guess she isn't so little.) She silently submitted to his firm hold on the table and got her shots. The vet suggested Cha Cha watch her diet and tugged on her fluffy love handles. It was over. We survived the first of many annual vet visits.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The Culprit

The Crime

Monday, November 9, 2009

I hereby declare today End of Gardening Season Day

First I would like to take a moment and update everyone on our pumpkin collection since there have been some changes as of this morning. We had to say goodbye to the Rouge vif d'Etamps today after nearly a month of honorable and decorative service atop our mantel. To honor his dedicated work we disposed of him in the only way that could befit such a fine curcubit:

He made quite a splashy landing in our gorgeous urban backyard and was immediately greeted by reverent squirrelfolk.

Other members of the troupe have moved to the kitchen for the next phase of their duty. It is with great pride that they take their places in the pot for not everyone has made it this far. This bunch has proved resilient to the harsh conditions of the living room, surviving direct sunlight, wild temperature swings, and feline advances. They are the firm skinned cream of the crop.

I have declared today End of Gardening Season Day after a short visit to the plot this morning. The brassicas are making little progress beyond providing about a million aphids with one last seasonal feast. The garlic bulbs I planted several weeks ago have sprouted due to the mild weather we've been having. Rather than waiting until spring, they've also decided to service the aphid population right now. Oddly, the cauliflower and cabbage seem to be attracting a pale gray aphid while the garlic is attracting a purple/black aphid. My insecticidal soap is garlic "flavored" so I only briefly considered spraying the cabbage plants: Could I lure the purple aphids onto the gray aphid territory, incite an entomological civil war, and let them (hopefully) destroy each other? Instead, I'm going to let winter clear things up. I've pulled the worst of the plants and disposed of them in a ziptop bag. The others may winter over and return in the spring when they can grow faster than the aphids can munch. Ladybugs are also available in some garden stores in the spring. Hence, today is my official End of Gardening Season Day.

I had one final harvest. Last week I managed to pull a few more tomatoes, one last carrot, a bunch of basil for freezing, and sage for drying.

A nice family of white cats is living in the garden and frequently active when I drop by. The kitten in the foreground isn't weened yet but his older sister above him is quite independent. Mom is to the right taking a snooze. All genders are assumed. Although I'm pretty sure about Mom!

I didn't notice them when I first walked in today. Mom was feeding the kitten against the warmth of the embankment wall. Later they circled around me and eventually returned to their spot by the wall.