Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pepper's Christmas

And we're off!  Pepper and I at the Dayton Airport.  She was so incredibly well-behaved.  A few little meows on the ride there.  I even put a harness on her as we got close to the airport.  When I traveled with my Alix in 1997 the TSA pulled her out of her carrier  without asking me first) and gave her a pat-down, to the tune of some horrendous shrieking!  I thought for sure she would scratch or bite the TSA agent who would then release his grip and she would be lost forever in the airport.  This time the agent politely asked me to hold Pepper while we went through the metal detector/scanner and her carrier went through the conveyor belt with my carry-on bag.  Not a sound out of Pepper, not even when our flight to Newark was delayed by over an hour.  It was such a long wait, but we survived the flight with no problems.
At my mom and dad's Pepper was at first overwhelmed by all the space, the furniture the new faces and most importantly THE CARPET.  As a clawless cat she just loved the softness and texture of the wall-to-wall carpet at Mom and Dad's.

On Christmas Day Pepper got more gifts then anyone else!  Lots of catnip toys, a 3D "Swiss Cheese" game and some glittery, jingly balls.

My brother's cat Mel got a similar assortment,

but couldn't resist inspecting Pepper's gifts.  Christmas dinner was at my brother's house with some of his close friends and their lovely daughters, who also brought gifts for Pepper!!

3D Swiss Cheese!

Pepper stuck close to me for the first few days and then slowly started to warm up to Mom and Dad.  Inching closer to my dad on the couch......

and then allowing some petting from her new best friend, my dad!  The pink afghan is a favorite napping spot now.

Got to reconnect with my dear grammar school friend Nancy, who also loves cat.  I hadn't seen her in nearly THRITY YEARS!

 I miss you Mommy and Daddy.  Thank you so much for giving Pepper and safe and loving home.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pepper Takes A Holiday

I've always been kind to every "visitor cat" that's come to my house.  I prefer the word visitor rather then stray.  Stray implies to me that they are unwanted and unloved.  That is certainly not true because I love each and everyone one of them that pass my way.  Some stay for a lifetime, like our Mocha, who has been with us for over 9 years.  Others I see just once or twice and they move on.  In late October I was feeding a visitor who is a big male Tabby cat.  He is very timid and never allows me to pet him or even approach him.  I leave him food and water and then retreat to the house to watch him through the window.  Then one day I realized that he was meowing to me for food and he came closer.  Then I noticed his interesting striped pattern and also that this was a TOTALLY DIFFERENT CAT then the large male Tabby.

This lovely cat came to our house every day with a very loud voice.  After a week or two he even came into the shed and came close enough for me to pet him.  After one touch he was purring and rubbing on my legs.

While in the shed (which doubles as Joe's Man Cave) he jumped up on the sofa and started that punching thing that cats do.  Oddly enough there was no sound of his claws scratching on the fabric.  I picked him up and ran my hand along his feet......NO CLAWS!  I also noticed that he was a she.  A declawed female cat abandoned as Winter was approaching.  It took me another week to earn her trust enough to take her to my Vet.  She is fixed and also micro-chipped!  The Vet traced her chip to another local Vet and they called to notify the owner.  The other Vet tech said that this was "Pepper" her friend's cat  and that they would take Pepper in to a warm cage until her owner got off work and came to claim her.  They asked for my name and phone number so the grateful owner could contact me.  I was happy that Pepper had a loving home that missed her, but I was also a bit heartbroken to lose my new friend.
I had not driven half way home from the Vet when my phone rang.  It was a different Vet tech telling me that Pepper's owner had contacted them and said she no longer wanted Pepper and had put her outside on purpose!  What did I want to do......have them send Pepper to the shelter or come back and claim her as my own.

Well, there is no mystery here.  I spun the car around and went right back for Pepper.  She lives on our porch, up on the woodpile on her special heated bed.  She doesn't like out cats very much because she has no claws and they know it.  It's interesting how animals can sense certain things about each other.  Pepper is a pure breed Bengal cat and was born 29 September 2011.  She is up to date on all her shots so she will be on her way to a new, safe loving home.........

with MY MOM & DAD!!! 
You can see in the photo above that she loves cat nip.  I've told my Mom all about Pepper and this is the most enthusiastic she has been about anything in many years.  Her Parkinson's Disease has robbed  her of so much of the joy she got out of Life.  Pepper seems to have brought that joy back.  Now my Dad is a different story.  Pepper will be a total surprise to him when we arrive at Christmas.  He has had two other cats and dog and I know he loves animals.  Pepper will win their hearts in an instant.
So my usual Christmas travel anxiety takes on a whole new twist this year.  While I agonize over leaving my other cats behind at home with Joe, I know I am doing the right thing for Pepper by giving her a home of her own.  I do wish she could stay here with us, but the next best place is my parent's house and she can secretly still be MY CAT!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Like most stitchers/crafters I have a "Work In Progress" pile and a Wish List pile of charts, designs, patterns, magazines.  Here are some photos from what has come to be known as the "Finally" pile.  Ideas and designs that I have drooled over, longed for or procrastinated about for years.  Yes, YEARS!
I wanted to stitch Workbasket "Quaker Reindeer" ever since I saw it over on Edgar's blog several years ago.  After much searching I finally got my hands on the chart.  Here is the lovely boy, stitched up on 16 count Christmas green aida with DMC variegated #115.

I'm pretty sure it was Edgar also who inspired me to stitch these Prairie Schooler "Two By Two Deer".  I have the Two By Two charts that portray Noah's Ark, but this was the little promotional card that announced the new release (about a billion years ago).

These two Prairie Schoolers are at least from the 21st Century....2006 and 2007 Gift of Stitching ornament issues.

Lastly in the "Finally" category is a wreath from Better Homes and Gardens "Holiday Crafts" 2006.  In Fact I bought the bag of Brazil nuts in 2006 so they were properly "aged" when I finally got around to making this wreath last month. 

Mine is certainly not as lush as the one in the magazine.  I recycled an old twig wreath that is much smaller and skimpier then the 22" one called for in the instructions.

I traded out the store-bought pheasant feathers for guinea fowl and hawk feathers I found in my yard.

The weather outside is frightful, but my buddy Houdini is enjoying his first Christmas tree in the warm indoors.  He is the new addition to the household with the Great Dane dogs that I pet sit during the work week.

A bit more snow piled on to what we already had from last Friday.  Just enough for a stay-at-home day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Under Cover of Darkness

Joe has borrowed the most wonderful little camera from a neighbor.  It's designed for hunter to spot their "prey" but we're using it just to watch the visitors that come at night.

Deer 'photo-bombing' a 'possum!

A nice close-up

Possum gets his 15 seconds of fame

looks like either a fox or a coyote to me
And in the light of day the photos are just as interesting.

Thought the above two photos were of our Mel, but when I check the dates and times, she was inside.  So we have an orange "guest kitty"!

The camera even captures the drive-by after Joe has left some corn and apples for the wildlife.  We check the camera every three days or so to see what new neighbors we have.  It's a lot of fun to see who comes around at night.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Five Years Already!?

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since I found those three little kittens by the side of the road.  A brother and his two sisters.

They went off to the Vet in hopes of adoption.  How did I ever think back then that those cats would not eventually be MINE!!  The little muted tortoise-shell sister found a home with the lady who runs the local dollhouse shop.  Kitties name is now Gracee.

Roy and Carmella came home with me on 22 November 2008.

Roy, my shy boy, is now the sturdiest cat I have.  He even weighs more then his mentor, Coal.

Carmella is my independent girl.  She loves to be outside and it's often a struggle to get her back in at night.

Roy loves to be outside too, but he stays close to me. 

 Mel sets off on her own and usually goes into the shed or off for a walk in the back field.

Here are the brother and sister this morning, following me out back

Joe has cut us a nice "maze" in the field for hiding and hunting.

When we get all the way to the end of the field, this is our view of the house.

Inside the house there has been a bit of stitching going on.  I think this little "Hornbook Angel" has taken me at least 5 years to complete (still not there, but maybe by tonight).  Not sure how I will finish up this one.  It sort of looks like a tombstone to me.
Then there is the lovely Vanessa Ferrari, champion Italian gymnast.  I have been involved in the sport for over 35 years and Ferrari's Olympic Floor Exercise performance is the ONE AND ONLY gymnastics routine that my father has ever watched!!!  Maybe this one will end up being his Christmas present.
Ah Christmas, dare I even think about it?  I did have a rather pleasant conversation with my mother yesterday.  I waited her out for nearly two weeks, restraining myself from calling there to check on them.  That seems to be the method to follow.  When I call there it is just a litany of complaints, snide comments or just a down-right shut down.  She'll say she is too tired to talk to me and my father is too busy.  Yesterday I talked with both of them for nearly 45 minutes and all was sunshine and flowers.  Things get harder and harder to predict back home in NJ.  So I will thrive on the joy I got out of yesterday's chat and treasure the moments I have here in my peaceful place with my beloved kitties.