Sunday, June 29, 2014

DUSTY (the guilty) IS HERE

DSC_0754Rusty’s brother arrived Wednesday afternoon. It was NOT a joyous reunion.  There was much growling, hissing, a spit or two, and running and hiding. I have been demoted to Rusty’s ‘you know what’ list since I spent most of the afternoon and evening holding a shivering little gray cat with his nose buried in the crook of myDSC_0753 arm.


Rusty spent most of his time on the window in my bedroom, or on the bed.

He now owns the place here, you see.


DSC_0757 Dusty has made progress… he stayed almost glued to me as I worked on the DSC_0756computer. I pulled up a dining room chair to get him off my lap. The next day he  moved to the sofa, then tried  out a chair or two, while Rusty napped on the kitchen rug.



Finally, it seems they have worked out their dispute, this little moment was brief but did not end in fur flying – for which I was most grateful. Dusty has found the hiding place all my kitties have used to store their toys.

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Now I need to figure out how to keep him from wetting on the bathroom rug! I have put a rubber mat down under the rugs to keep the p from getting into the grout. My bathroom is tile. Washing a rug a day is getting old fast. sigh. I promise these are my last cats. I am too old for this.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


How often have you heard people say animals don’t have distinct personalities? Frankly, I worry about those people. And I feel sorry for them. Obviously they have not made space in their hearts for one of our little creatures, our little 4 legged cousins. (For the sake of brevity, I will not get into fish, birds, or reptiles as pets – since mostly I feel sorry for them trapped forever in a prison of glass or bars.)

I have been owned by numerous cats. Many of them have been seen here on this blog. Some have lived in the house exclusively, some outside… and, as most of you know, in the last year or so, the cat population has greatly decreased here… cancer, old age, kidney failure… same complaints the humans have, it seems. Most of my kitties live a pretty long time, the longest being Fino that I had from 1971 until 1992, and she was full grown when she followed me home! All have been rescued, or just simply arrived at my door. Sometimes, however, I wonder who has rescued whom, as they have always been there for me in my times of great sorry and need.

DSC_1854A couple years ago (well, almost) a friend, Charlie, discoveredDSC_2000 someone had left a  present on his land, 2 young kittens, about 3 months old, left on a baby sized blanket at the edge of his woods, left with a little plate of food, left to wait for the human who never came back to get them. Instead, I got a phone call, grabbed a cage, and set off for Charlie’s. At the time, I had 4 cats of my own here, 2 inside, 2 outside, and knew introducing 2 new boys to my resident boys would result in a major cat fight! That would not be fair to anyone, so we agreed they would live in Charlie’s shop until there was a vacancy here. 

And as you know if you have read much on here, I’ve lost all but Spook, so, Rusty (who needed vet care) came home first.

DSC_0741 Rusty is not a healthy little fellow… my first words to the vet when we took them in from Charlie’s woods were, “If it looks like he might not make it, just put him down now before I get attached to him.” Barrett asked how long I had had the little guy… I answered, “15 minutes.” So, you see, I already knew this would probably be a very special (and sickly) little boy! He had a couple months of antibiotics and eye drops, and survived, somehow. He is lame, runs with an obvious limp, sometimes it seems his feet aren’t sure where they are going. He can fall trying to jump up on the sofa. It is a shame to laugh at him when he tries to run across the linoleum on the kitchen floor and he looks like those poor critters slipping and sliding as their feet go out from under them as they try to run across ice.

But Oh what a love bug! Like Rascal, his first job in the morning is to climb up into my lap, interrupt whatever IDSC_0712 am doing, and rub his nose all over my chin, cheek, neck, and wrap his little paws around my neck. If you come to visit, I promise you he will be in your lap whether you want it or not. If you don’t, you need to say so immediately so I can lock him in the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, he curls up in the sink and takes a nap, but with one ear open to listen for that door. In the living room, he has taken over the couch, tho sometimes a chair feels good. I think we had one week of no towels covering the furniture. It just did not look like my house at all! So, back to normal. Did I mention he likes wearing his scarf?

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His other favorite thing is to sit on a stool and look out the door at the birds. He is kind of clumsy getting up into the windows, so I put the stool by the storm door for him.

It’s funny the toys different cats pick as their favorites. Rusty seems to enjoy this ancient mini-basketball my god-daughter used to play with when she was in first grade. She is now quite grown and finished with school!

If I had to describe Rusty in one word, that word would be innocent. Few people can say that about their cats, they often seem to have some hidden agenda. Rusty’s agenda is to be loved, hugged, cuddled even before eating. Which reminds me, I am teaching him Turkish, just for the fun of it. When I call “Yemek haz─▒r*,” he comes running! Now that is different! His least favorite thing is getting his pills, but in time, I am sure he will get used to it, because I have a feeling it will be a life-time ordeal for him if he doesn’t.

In another week, we will try to bring his brother Dusty here (after the painter is done in the Big bathroom.) We tried that once and he ran from window to window. I was afraid he would hurt himself. But, we will try again. Dusty likes to be held, too, but is not the love bug Rusty is. I will keep you posted!

*Dinner is ready.



Actually, when I took the first picture, there was only one blue-tailed skink in the container… the next day, he had company.DSC_0731


Do you have a lot of skinks at your place this year? They are everywhere I look around here. I love their little flash of bright color.

Sunday, June 15, 2014



As many of you know, I have Lyme’s Disease. If you don’t know what that is, I don’t know what planet you are from, but I would like to go there! Lyme’s comes in several forms and it is possible to have all of them, I suppose. I have 2 types, myself, and antibodies for a third. We no longer have a Lyme’s specialist here, we barely have a hospital, and most people who can afford to travel generally leave the Shore to get help for any medical problems. I HATE traveling, so, when the local jerks that somehow managed to graduate with an MD behind their names forced our Lyme’s Dr to retire, (they don’t believe Lyme’s really exists) many of us were stuck with either no treatment or traveling 70-100 miles to find a specialist. The local docs will not prescribe the mega doses of doxycycline or other serious Lyme’s medications necessary to clear up a bad cycling of Lyme’s. I will not go into all the treatments out there or even bother you with what I went thru… just trust me, Lyme’s is something you do not want.

In case you are one of the few who do not know, Lyme’s is spread by a tick bite, tho I have read mosquitoes can carry it also. That is in great dispute, but, better be prepared just in case they are right, eh? The form of Lyme’s that bothers me the most at this time causes a great deal of pain, muscular pain mostly, tho some forms settle in the joints. Lyme’s is often misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia (have you seen the commercial where the woman insists it is a real disease? That’s because it is so often misdiagnosed!) or even MS. I need to remind you of a sad fact at this point… I know we all want to believe in our doctors, but just remember, someone had to graduate at the bottom of the class… and they get jobs somewhere… probably in dumb little back-water places like the shore where the hospital sucks, the pay is low (for a doctor) or they get sent to work off their loans. But that is not the point of this post. Just sayin’.

Many of us with Lyme’s have days when we can barely walk or do anything for ourselves. And if you know me, I do not accept not being able to take care of myself very gracefully. And, you know how I love my gardens!

So what does a poor fool like me do to prevent getting re-infected here in the heart of tick country where one can’t even go pick a tomato without getting a couple mosquito bites and a couple ticks crawling on them? Well, there is DEET, of course, and other things one can spray on them to repel the little suckers. But, I am sure you have heard that DEET is not good stuff to put on your body. There are numerous high pitched electronic things that supposedly send skeeters in the other direction, but  that does not deter ticks. Then, last year, I heard about clothing that actually repels insects… and I decided to give it a try.

One company that sells insect repellant clothing is EXOFFICIO. The clothing is permeated with permethrin:

“Permethrin kills ticks on contact with treated clothing. A method of reducing deer tick populations by treating rodent vectors involves stuffing biodegradable cardboard tubes with permethrin-treated cotton. Mice collect the cotton for lining their nests. Permethrin on the cotton instantly kills any immature ticks that are feeding on the DSC_0726mice. It is important to put the tubes where mice will find them, such as in dense, dark brush, or at the base of a log; mice are unlikely to gather cotton from an open lawn. Permethrin is used in tropical areas to prevent mosquito-borne disease such as dengue fever and malaria. Mosquito nets used to cover beds may be treated with a solution of permethrin. This increases the effectiveness of the bed net by killing parasitic insects before they are able to find gaps or holes in the net. Military personnel training in malaria-endemic areas may be instructed to treat their uniforms with permethrin, as well. An application should last several washes.”

My clothing is supposedly good for up to 70 washes. Please note: some people are allergic to it, so it is not a cure all! I, fortunately do not seem to be allergic to it, and have shared the product with several other people who swear by it. EXOFFICIO makes lots of treated clothing. I personally have a pair of khakis, several T-shirts, several bandanas, and a couple pair of socks. I just came in from cutting 2 acres of grass here, and not one bite! I got buzzed a little, but they all left, and not one tick on me! All their products are available on amazon.

If you have Lyme’s or are greatly bothered by mosquitoes where you live and hate being covered with spray, maybe this is a solution for you. I would suggest buying a bandana and trying it out to see if you are allergic to it. These products are not horribly expensive, but they are not cheap, either, so be sure it is something you can use. Also note – if you have pets, it may not be good for them, especially cats, to be around it, so don’t wash your “bugsaway” clothes with their bedding,  for example. And good luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


While “shooting” some shots in the garden, I was looking for a trowel and thought I saw ‘something’ in the bottom of this cut off plastic container. Do you see somebody in here?


Sunday, June 08, 2014


I have a very noisy neighbor… not that I am complaining. I might even be bragging a bit! He and his family live in my woods and are not at all bashful about banging around on whatever they think will give them a good meal. A couple weeks ago, he was working on this stump outside my bedroom window. I got to try out my new Nikon on him… And for those of you who are not all that into birds, this is a pileated woodpecker.

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He has a very distinctive call – once you hear it, it will be easy to know if you have one around. I will include a link with a sound link on it. Check it out!

Sunday, June 01, 2014


I grew up with yards full of peonies. My Grandpa planted hundreds of them. Really. They surrounded our property in the Poconos. Shortly after I bought this place here in VA, my father dug up some peony roots and brought them down here and planted them around the place. It took them a while to get going, but now I have a couple dozen beautiful plants here and there around the yard. one nice thing is, they don’t all bloom at the exact time, so it seems to stretch their blooming time out much longer. They tend to start as the azaleas are finishing, sometimes blooming with the iris, sometimes not. I consider them real treasures but am still surprised when folks stop out front to ask what they are since they seem to grow so well here.

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But probably my biggest treasure (plant wise) is something I have been told does NOT grow around here, and that is this Mountain Laurel. It is now well over 5 feet tall, the tallest point being over my head. I have 2 Mountain Laurels, the other one is much smaller and did not bloom this year. I think they do better when we have had a cold winter. Well, last winter sure qualified! Can you get a sense of the size of this plant?

DSC_0350  DSC_0715  DSC_0716  DSC_0717             While taking these peony pictures, Spook came out to visit Hadji’s grave. It is so weird, he goes out there each morning and sits for a spell.                      DSC_0706