Lots of Lemons with no Lemonade

Hey there,

Where have I been?  What’s this about lemons?  Lemons have such a sunny colour, yet the symbolism doesn’t match.  Life has not been kind of late.  How much detail to go into without bringing down the party here…and how much time do you have?  Buckle up!

With the busy-ness of all things early fall, and fall being my favourite season, I was remiss in parking myself down in front of my computer to write.  When given the choice between being inside and being outside on a glorious day, whenever possible, outside will always win, hands down!  We have had an unusually warm September/October season here in Southern Ontario.  Gardening has been fab, so that is what I did.  Good thing I did take advantage of that bliss… just sayin’.  My sky chart for the year did warn me that October was going to be “lively” and oh boy – never dismiss the woo woo. A mantra of mine.

Although, I must say, that I have missed sitting down to write.  Writing has become a form of therapy for me.  I’ve been told that I write like I speak…not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…If you are reading this and you are a “regular”, thank you for your patience.  If you are new here, well, have a look back through my posts and you’ll see that I usually am a little more consistent – and yes, I’m weird. 🙂  I’ve always been a writer; the most easy communication for me.  Not so much for pleasure though.  I wrote as part of my job those many, many years in the corporate world.  But that was “corporatese”.  New word!  Not for fun, but I did it well.

Ok then, where to start?

Warning:  Tales of woe and litany ahead.

Here we go, lemons:

Early in October, my new little stray, Niles, went missing and was subsequently found a few days later.  We have lost Niles.  So sad.  He only lived here for about three months and I was getting quite attached.  He was a wild, fun little guy and there was no keeping him indoors.  Not sure where he came from – he just “appeared” one day with Ralph.  I’ve discussed that before.  I know many of you are going to think that cats should be kept indoors.  I am of the belief that when you live in the country, as I do, it is cruel to keep a cat in if they want to be out.  Nature is nature.  We can’t control everything.  Although I do make sure my kitties are in at night – many a time I’ve stayed up, waiting, waiting for the little so and so to show their face.  Did you ever read my post about Ralph?  No?  Probably one of my better ones, or so I’ve been told!  Go ahead and have a read, I’ll wait.

So, that was Niles – a cool name for a cool guy.  A pity we didn’t get the chance to know him better.

Next, more lemons:

Winnie got very sick and within a couple of days, she passed.  Winnie was my pretty, attitude-filled, mean-girl kitty.  But she was so sweet – and a healthy girl all her life.  So when she got sick, she knew her time was coming.  While she was still strong enough, I watched her outside, visiting the places she loved, saying her good byes and telling me, there wasn’t long.  She was 19 and this had been her only home.  So, a good life and I stayed by her side while she ailed.

Winnie gave me so much.  I do miss her terribly.  The spot where her bed was by the fire is empty, but she is with me in spirit.  She now lives in the Cedars and the wind.

I am down to only one cat.  Ralph.  This is unheard of under the blue roof.  I have never only had one cat, and Ralph is quite lonely.  He has become my constant companion.  I am thinking about bringing home a rescue kitty, but one would have to be chosen carefully for Ralph.  He is Alpha, he is about 13 – although still lots of pep in his step (you know my kitties tend to have very long lives!) – and he likes to stir things up.  He’s got a mischievous streak and a glint in his eyes.  Ralph was a stray and he’s lived here about 10 years.  He loves to be outside, but it’s getting easier to get him in, as he likes his creature comforts now as the weather cools and he’s no kitten anymore…

Perhaps a kitten – I haven’t had a really young kitten here under the blue roof since Winnie was a kitten!  They are such fun – I’m such a sucker for kittens…one (or two) would certainly give Ralph a run.

Oh boy,

My gut is telling me to wait.  Even though Ralph is lonely.  I think I’m going to see what the Winter brings – or who the Winter brings.  Maybe see who finds me.  That’s usually the way things roll around here.

So I lost Niles, then Winnie.  On to the human issues that have been my October.

More lemons:

Thanksgiving weekend.  Thanksgiving was very early here in Canada – leaving lots of room in October for the proverbial poo to hit the fan.

Aren’t you glad you stopped in?

I, of course, am cooking Thanksgiving dinner, as I do the family gathering for every occasion.  Not that I’m bitter about that – kittens and flowers, kittens and flowers – although bitter goes with the topic of lemons, we won’t go there today.  That, dear readers, could be a topic all on its own.

Lemons:

I’ve just lost my Winnie, and seriously not feeling the fam dinner thing, but circumstances being what they are…UGH…I’m cooking a turkey.  Dinner happens, minus one.

I will not go into a lot of detail here, because it involves another family member (who isn’t a reader, so really, all bets could be off).  You know, I don’t think any of my family are readers, save my lovely Daughter.  And she won’t tell…RIGHT?!

Anyhoo…lemons…

This family member is rushed to hospital the next day for emergency surgery.  No details.  Suffice it to say, it is very serious.

Now, as if the lemons aren’t bad enough in this scenario, this family member that is in hospital lives with, and is also the sole caregiver to a 95 year old Aunt (it’s not just the cats that have long lives in this family…).  She still lives in her house. Not anywhere near the blue roof, of course.  No, this is all taking place in the City.

They call me mellow, yellow…

So, we’ve got the family member in ICU, in the City – the City being west Toronto – and we’ve got the 95 year old Aunt, not able to be on her own.

LEMONS:

The following week is spent back and forth every day to the City – hospital and Aunt’s house, scrambling with doctors and medical people in one place and trying to put in place temporary arrangements for the Aunt, who is still very sharp in her mind, but physically, not great – and she is fighting everything suggested…

LEMONS:

Exhausted much?  Geez, I know I’m a double Virgo – Leo cusp Virgo Sun and Virgo Moon – and a life-long caregiver in some form or another – it’s what I do – but I’m getting @%&#! tired.

LEMONS:

Family member is still in hospital.  Aunt currently in temporary respite, but not wanting to stay.  Trying to figure out a solution, if there is one. Back and forth, back and forth.

LEMONS:

You know, I think, that my parents are both in caregiving facilities and I run after their every need.  Manage every aspect of their lives.  I am in year 5 of all things them.  Yes, I said 5.  Still get the question, “So, do you work?” Ummm

The current crisis peeps are on “the other side” of the fam.  Much stress.

#herewegoagain
#novacationinsight

Easy to say:  Not my circus, not my monkeys…but, nope, I’m in.

I’m thinking that I must have had one helluva good time in my last life – or at least one of my past lives.  I’m thinking I’ve been around a few times.  Excuse me while I close my eyes for a moment and try to conjure that up.

Those lemons?  I’m going to need some vodka to go with that lemonade, if they ever turn to that.

Hmmm, not much mention about plants this time around.  Well, lemons grow on trees, right?  I actually consume a lot of lemon – not metaphorically speaking this time.  Lemons are awesome for balancing your ph levels.  I’ve always got some in my glass of water.  A good natural cleaner and deodorizer too – and they smell divine!

There’s a little positive for ya.  You’re welcome – thanks for stopping in!

So there you have it, you’re up-to-date on my tale of woe and litany (please).

If it looks like I’m winking at you, I’m not…I need glasses to work on the computer now and haven’t gotten around to getting them yet, because, well, SEE ABOVE.

October is almost at it’s end.  Samhain (Hallowe’en) on Tuesday – and I haven’t dug out my pointy hat yet. 🙂  October’s flower is Calendula – my favourite – and showing her sunny self in part of my garden in the photo above.  We’ve had a frost, but she is still blooming and I can see her from The Meadowview.

As I write this afternoon, the Moon is in Aquarius but she moves into Pisces in her second quarter for this evening’s show.  A little Pisces would be good right now – intuitive and gentle.

Today’s colour for Sun-day is gold!

So, what’s new with you?

Phew! I’m going to see about making some lemonade.  It’s gotta be 5 o’clock somewhere…

Until next time,

-Debra

Summer, “worts” and all

 

Hey there,

So the longest day of the year has now come and gone, which means we’re almost half-way through. Summer Solstice and the turning of the year.  I had a blog post all ready, well almost ready, honest – but then this rain has been playing havoc with our Internet service up here in the boonies.  Add that to my busy schedule… My computer also needs a tune-up which did not help matters.  (Communication issues – hello Mercury).  So, today seems to be better- I’ve fired up ‘Ol Smokie here in the Meadowview and I’m just tweaking what I wrote on Wednesday.

ALWAYS SAVE YOUR DRAFT!
Kittens and flowers, kittens and flowers

Cheating?  Perhaps, but ask me how pleased I was after spending three hours writing and then my Internet seizes up…not pretty.  Suffice it to say, the air was blue under the blue roof.  Kittens and flowers, kittens and flowers.

Anyhoo,

Summer officially begins, worts and all…it’s been a very wet, cool Spring here in Southern Ontario.  What’s with the “worts”?  Ew.  “Worts” is “herbs” in German; as in “Motherwort”, one of my favs.  Just me being a smarty pants. 🙂

Gardens are happy with the moisture, some plants are needing more Sun. There is later and sometimes extended bloom time. You win some, you lose some.

Me?  I’m fine with the temperature in the low 20 degree C range, but many are not so fine with it.

How do you define happy?  It’s not all about the weather, although some may think so.  I very recently lost an Aunt.  A very inspiring lady who lived her life to the fullest.  She was not a complainer, she was a doer and dedicated her life to “doing” for others.  Her profession was nurse, but she did far more than that with volunteering her time for so many charities and causes, especially after she fully retired from nursing – at least her full time job of nursing.

It gave me pause to really think about what life should be all about – and what makes me happy.  It made me think about my past, my childhood, growing up and my previous life in the corporate world.  As well as previous lives…but we won’t get into that woo woo here. 🙂 Her passing also made me think about the things that don’t make me happy.  I must say, this one gave me a couple of sleepless nights.  Pluto was at work again, conjuring up all manner of bad memories and bringing with him the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” that we all think about from time to time.  Especially when you’re comparing your life to one that has just ended.

The conclusion?  I am basically happier now, doing my own thing, than I have been in a long time.  Life constantly challenges me, but living here, under and around the blue roof, amongst nature and the plants, passing my knowledge on to those who care to learn and listen, my family, my kitties and I have a wonderful circle of friends.  Although I have a heavy burden of responsibility, being the parent to my parents, I am now in a position where I run my own show (and theirs) and I don’t have to answer to anyone.  It suits the “bossy pants” me very well.  Selfish? Perhaps, but I’ve earned it and I have in the past and continue to donate my time to others and the community.  Building some good karma there. 🙂

Thinking about my Aunt’s life again, I never realized the similarities between her and I.  Isn’t it always the way that you don’t truly learn about what a person has done until you hear their eulogy?  That’s a shame. Although she wasn’t a Virgo, as I am, I have always been a caregiver (Cancer Ascendent), like her – from a very early age, being the eldest of three children. Starting with my brother and sister and foster babies (who shared my room) in my childhood.  My Aunt was a nurse by profession and although I didn’t study in the medical profession, I have certainly studied extensively in the natural medicinal field and using food as medicine. It’s all about helping and healing. We are/were both involved with our communities in various ways and our paths did cross once as volunteers working with Special Olympics Canada.

She was just “Aunt Joan” to me.  I wish I had gotten to know that other person better.  Woulda, shoulda, coulda.  Hats off to a life well lived, Aunt Joan.

Phew!  That feels better, thanks for listening. 🙂

Too heavy?  Let’s lighten up a little then, shall we?

Did I mention there was another man in my life?  This one is of the four-legged furry variety. (Haha – gotcha)  There is a new kitty here.  His name is Niles and I will post his photo once I have one.  It’s been almost a year since my Tigger passed away.  Ralph brought Niles home with him one afternoon. Someone didn’t want Niles (how cruel some people can be).  I believe he was left on the road just like my Tigger was and Ralph dusted off the vacancy sign:

“Come with me!  I was homeless too, but now I’ve got a Mommy who feeds me when I want, always makes sure my water dish is full and my litter box is clean and gives cuddles and ear rubs.  Happy dance.  It’s cool in the Summer and warm in Winter with beds by the fire. There’s even an old girl named Winnie that you can poke once in a while to get a rise out of her, just for fun.”

Reading Ralph’s mind, that’s his schpeel.

Niles is not a barn cat nor feral and hasn’t been on his own for long.  He’s not older than around two; this is probably his second Spring.  A lovely disposition and very affectionate.  Small, refined; a handsome boy – solid charcoal grey with bright green eyes.  Remember the TV show Frasier?  Hence the name:  Niles! (Who didn’t love Niles?) Follows Ralph around like he’s Dad.  Niles made his debut at the Vet this week, and wasn’t very happy with that visit – checkups can be rather, um, “invasive”… he slunk off when I brought him back home and he showed up for dinner and hasn’t moved on since.  So, he’s decided to call the blue roof home. Ralph is delighted, Winnie, not so much (she hates boys).  You know what they say about cats – they own you, you don’t own them.  He has a very healthy appetite!  I did cover his ears when his neutering appointment for next week was discussed…stay tuned for more about Niles – he’s now part of the gang.

Back to the Solstice.  Did you do anything special to celebrate?  I had dinner with a group of women (as I did a different group on Solstice Eve, here under the blue roof – busy, social me!).  There was no naked dancing around the fire either night – but there was wine and there were giggles. 🙂

As the world turns, literally, on its axis, it orbits not in a circle, but in an elliptic around the Sun, with the Sun being closer at one end.  That’s right, Summer Solstice happens when the Earth reaches that end.  At Summer Solstice we are closest to the Sun and therefore we have the most light.  As the Earth turns around that end and starts its decent…yup, it starts to lose light and the days become shorter.  The good news is that we have a ways to wait – six months, in fact – until the Earth reaches the other end, where the Sun is furthest away and we have the least light, or the shortest day – Winter Solstice.  See how that works?

In the lore of woo woo, the Holly King and the Oak King (both trees – Holly being Winter (dark) and Oak being Summer (light) ) battle it out on the Solstice and the Holly King wins, representing the darkness slowly returning.

Let’s not think about that just yet – we’re just beginning the warm days of our Summer!

The Sun entered Cancer on the Solstice and the Moon entered Gemini before darkness fell.

The day’s colour for Solstice was topaz – a colour of the Earth, health and home.  Wednesday is ruled by Mercury, the messenger planet.  Messages being sent to you and how you communicate, or the messages you give.  I don’t think we’ve chatted about Mercury before…curious that the day of the week that is ruled by communication is not usually my writing day – and so it wasn’t meant to be that I actually published my writing and sent it out to you on Wednesday.  Hmmmm

Lately I’ve had deer visit the meadow.  What kind of message could that be sending me?  Hmmmm  More about that one later.

As we are are now into Friday and Friday is ruled by Venus and all things beautiful (TGIF?), our New Moon tonight moves into Cancer.  Cancer is ruled by the Moon and is about all things maternal, nurturing and home.  The New Moon, of course, is dark and the end of the fourth quarter.  Time for reflection on the previous month and to clear the board to get ready to start fresh under a new cycle and phase.

Today’s colour is purple.

Well, there you go now.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted – I’ve seen you checking!  Thanks for your patience.  I’ve given you a double reading whammy (we’ll call it that – certainly not that I happen to be long-winded today).  To my friend who is being married tomorrow:  You are a Cancerian being married under a Cancer Sun and a Cancer Moon, on the first day of the first quarter.  Another double whammy and an awesome fresh start for you my dear, although I know you didn’t plan it that way…sometimes things just happen because – just sayin’. Blessings, and I will see you there. 🙂

Until next time,

-Debra

Living in a Petrie Dish

Hey there,

Coming to you this week in a fuzzy haze from deep within a house of cooties.  Yup.  Everyone is under the weather – it’s like a petrie dish in here.  So far, kitties ok.

I hate it when I’m not feeling well.  As I’m sure you do.  It’s almost like I feel offended that some errant, stray cootie dare invade my space.

You know the feeling; everything is humming along and then you wake up one morning with, what?  That little niggling, that tiny warning bell.  Something isn’t quite right.  Bit of a dry throat?  Headache? Sore ears? All the signs.  Everyone, everywhere you go is sick… Oh no. No. No. No. No. No.  Not today.  May not be flu – may just be something else icky on the loose and…

BOOM!

you’re down for the count.  “How could this possibly happen today, when I’ve got X, Y and Z to do and take care of?”  You ask.  Well, that may be exactly why this happened to you at this particular time…it may be your body telling you it’s high time you stop. and. get. some. rest.  I know, I know.  Easy for me to say?  Not so much!

So, here I am.  That’s exactly what happened, here in the petrie dish I call home.

When I get sick?  It goes like this:

DAY ONE:  I crawl into bed with a glass of water on my bedside table, the window cracked for air, lots of warmth covering me (and usually Ralph) – and I sleep and I sweat it out.

Attention everyone: Just. Go. Away.
(Except for Ralph – he’s keeping me warm)

Anyone new here?  Really?  Thanks – read on!  Ralph is my kitty.

Back to our regular programming:

Every time I wake up, I drink some water, to stay hydrated.  Everyone else magically gets along without me. Hmmmm

By the end of that first day, I emerge – it’s not pretty, and it’s certainly not the butterfly breaking out of the cocoon (however, if you’d like to go with that visual, you just go right ahead) – but I am starting to feel a little better.  Drink water.  Brush teeth.  Wash face and freshen up.  Change clothes.  Wrap myself in something and go outside for a few deep breaths – doesn’t matter what the weather.  OK, back into the petrie dish.

My hairstyle is called:  I tried.

Almost human again…everyone still steering clear, because I’m cranky (and they think I’m weird, which I am).

Then I start with teas.  Ginger is very good if your stomach is upset – not the powdered stuff that has been sitting in a spice jar in your cupboard for who knows how long, but an actual chunk of the root, steeped in hot water.  It’s not hard to find in the grocery store.

You know how the home remedy for upset stomach is to drink flat Ginger Ale?  Ummm, that flavour, that makes the Ginger Ale taste like ginger?  Way down, somewhere under the chemicals in the soda, it started with actual ginger!  Yup.  Save yourself the sugar and the chemicals, buy some ginger root and use it in tea!  If it’s not sweet enough, add some honey.  Also most excellent for your digestion after a meal.  I don’t understand how people can say they buy ginger for some recipe that calls for fresh, and then they don’t know what to do with it and it goes to waste.  Wow!  Chop off a chunk and dunk it in your tea.  Doesn’t matter what kind of tea, black tea, green tea, whatever.  Just make a tea.  It tastes divine and is good for your gut. Do not waste it – it’s gold (literally)!

Yarrow and Elderberry Flower tea are very good for colds and flu.  I keep it dried for Winter use.

Yarrow is anti-everything.  Anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic.  Gets rid of infection, tones the liver, helps break a fever.

Caution:  Never use Yarrow if you are pregnant.  It may stimulate the uterus.  It may also stimulate allergy symptoms, so must be used with caution!

Yarrow may be confused with Queen Ann’s Lace, for anyone not familiar.  The photo at right shows common Yarrow.  This is the plant that is used. Not all the pretty garden varieties.  It grows in fields and roadsides in Summer and blooms before Queen Anne’s Lace.

They are very different plants – never pick and use anything that you are not completely sure of!

Elder is great with fever and inflammation (which is what you have if you have any kind of infection).  It also works well for coughs and congestion.

Elder, shown on the left, is a shrub/tree that grows along the roadside and is the same greenie that produces Elderberries.  Full of nutrients, an old-fashioned plant, still used for making wine.

What else?  Honey.  I make mint honey for sore throats – and it tastes yummy.  You can put that in your tea as well.

 

DAY TWO:  There isn’t a day two.

Usually I’m allowed one day to be sick, because – you know.  So this method is my go-to. 🙂  It won’t be completely gone after a day, but I’m at least functioning.  It’s most important to get some rest – and to try not to spread it willy nilly to everyone else…unless of course you got it from them first >: and then all bets are off. Try to ease back gently into life, if at all possible.  Your body will thank you for it and your recovery will be quicker.

Do I take over-the-counter meds?  Sometimes, if I’m desperate and feeling really bad and can’t do the hole-up-for-a-day ritual.  Or I can’t sleep at night because of a cough, or my head is pounding really hard.  I will take something.  But the problem with that is, because I don’t take any pharmacy medications on a regular basis, when I do take something…yowsa!  I’m out.  If I take something to help me sleep?  I’m out for a good 10 hours.

I prefer to try the woo woo way first.  It’s a little more gentle.  Valerian root is very good for helping you sleep, but I don’t always have it on hand.  I planted some last year.  Valerian root can make you hallucinate (don’t ask how I know that…) – just sayin’

OOF!

I’m my own experimental petrie dish. 🙂

My, my, I have gone on.  I am looking out the window at the Moon in the East.  It’s still light out.  She’s in her second quarter, almost full, and she just left Leo, moving into Virgo.  Literally, while I was writing.  Hmmm Leo certainly explains the bossy pants above, doesn’t it?  The Virgo part?  It’s all about being of assistance.  I hope I was able to assist you if you feel under the weather yourself.  Feel better soon, if you are.

Today’s colour is rose.  As in the rosy haze I find myself in. 🙂

Leaving you now from my little petrie dish under the blue roof.  Stay well.

Until next time,

-Debra

February – Buh Bye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey there,

Last day of February and I’m counting down the hours…February hasn’t disappointed this year, as it’s always the absolute worst for me…if something is going to go wrong, it will happen in February.  Check and check.

Time to move on.  Let’s push into March and the promise of Spring.  It’s been another unusual Winter here in Southern Ontario – not that it’s over yet.  Record-breaking temperatures and the greenies are coming up. Although it’s wonderful to finally have some Sun, it has been really mild and March can be cruel, with her last gasps of the season.  I’m not putting away Winter just yet, but the break has been lovely for those of us who haven’t travelled to find some Sun.

I’ve been really tempted to get out a chair to sit on the patio on the few occasions I’ve been home on a sunny afternoon.  Even if it’s just to watch the tree rats jump on the feeders. 🙂  Or the birdhouses – see above.  We still have some patches of snow in the north part of the meadow, but everything is looking very bare (and brown).

Yup, that’s me, crawling around looking for greenies coming up.  I’m leaving the leaf mulch for now, but pushing it aside, I can see them.  I’m hoping the leaf mulch protects the tender shoots when, inevitably, we will get more snow (or ice).  Keeping a sharp eye on my Maple Leaf Tulip bulbs where I planted them last Fall and looking forward to their show.  So far, there is no sign of tree rat interference.  What a smart cookie I was to mark them with colourful straws. 🙂

Let’s dream a little, shall we?

That’s better…

SOON

…And we’re back

What the heck is Ralph doing out there?  Wandering through the meadow, getting covered in burrs.  Not only the animals that are starting to wander, revelling in the warmer weather and anticipating new growth, I’ve actually seen people out!  Yes, when you live in the country and you know your nearest neighbour is there, you just can’t see them, you can tell everyone is feeling it when they start to venture out along the road.

Our “road” and I use that term loosely, is in really bad shape.  More like a cow path right now.  Pearl could get lost in the pot holes and mud.  Ugh Nothing can be kept clean.  A little attention from the Township would be nice any time now…I know they’re still there, as my tax payment was promptly cashed…can you say GRADE THE ROAD.

Be right back – time to get Ralph in.  The crows are kicking up a racket and there goes the Hawk.

Ok, everybody’s in – including Mr. G.  Oh, I didn’t mention that Mr. G (my grandkitty) is staying with us for a bit, along with my Daughter.  Oh, it’s never boring here under the blue roof!

 

Mr. G →

We’ve discussed Mr. G, or City Kitty, before.  To say he’s a little spoiled is a bit of an understatement.  Oh boy. We are currently in “toleration” mode, which is good.  He’s been here for about and week and a half now and has stopped hiding.  Also good.  Ralph and Mr. G can now be in the same room – in toleration mode – they don’t have to like each other (and they don’t), but being in the same room and no growling, now we’re making some progress.  No fur or blood has been spilt and everyone still has two eyes, two ears, a tail, all of their whiskers and limbs.  Yay!

As far as Winnie goes – poor Winifred – in her 18 years with us, she has seen many pets come and go.  It’s hard to remember when we didn’t have Winnie – we even had dogs back then.  Well, Winnie is really not fond of anyone new coming in.  Give her a nice comfy bed by the fire or on the porch, when it’s warm out, give her a little food a couple of times a day, keep her water bowl filled and her cat box clean (and stop moving it around, already – that would be when we were under construction) – and just leave her alone.  She will come to you when she wants ear rubs.  She’s old and fragile and doesn’t hear very well anymore, but she’s basically happy when all of the above conditions have been met…

Have you ever heard the expression “Cats own you, you don’t own cats”? Ummm

She doesn’t like Ralph, but they tolerate (sort of).  Ralph likes to poke her every once in a while, just to get her irritated.  You can see him grinning.  She does not want to play. >^..^<

Anyhoo, Winnie came upstairs for a drink.  I keep a water bowl and her second bed upstairs in the Tree Tops Room – Oooo, there’s a new one.  (Ok, so Winnie is a little spoiled too, but she’s old.)  What did she see?  Mr. G drinking out of her bowl!!!! EEWWWWWWW  Well, I thought Winnie might cough up a lung right then and there – soooo much hissing – didn’t think she had it in her.  Mr. G slunk under the bed.  Visual:  Mr. G is probably three times the size of Winnie.  Do not mess with her.  She stood there looking at me with “please tell me you’re kidding – he’s not staying here?”  Sigh  I washed out her bowl to get the Mr. G spit out of it.  She turned on her heel and went back down to her bed.  She will be drinking from the downstairs bowl, thank you. Winnie was not amused.  That was the end of that.  Attitude?  Sort of…but she’s pretty!

Mr. G is currently snoring and drooling behind me.  I think he’s feeling a little better about the whole living situation. 🙂

What?  You don’t want to hear any more about my kitties?  Ohhhh, you want to talk about plants!  I spent Sunday afternoon at Richter’s again, in the greenhouse.  I was good.  I didn’t come home with any new plants (not yet), but I did buy a funky birdcage which is going to hang under the deck with plants in it, once we get to warmer weather!  Who will be the lucky greenie?  Or maybe some ivy…  Dreaming and scheming.

What to look for at this time of year?  There could be some early bulbs starting, because of the warmer weather.  Witch hazel will be ready to bloom as well.  Otherwise, the trees are starting to bud and you can see new growth.  I mentioned the Willows last post.  Maple syrup season is coming!  Very Canadian.  Too early for Coltsfoot – traditionally, we’ve got another month or so to wait.  Try to be patient, as am I.

You can look for the birds.  I actually heard a flock of Canada Geese flying over the blue roof during the night about a week ago.  First time I’ve heard them at night.  It was cool.  I saw a Grackle, an early Spring bird at the feeder.  They are as welcome as the Starlings…what a mess.  These are the birds that come back in droves and nest in the cedars.  April is very noisy with them while they nest and breed.  But they do clean up all my plant leftovers from the Fall and the Daylillies.

My new bolts and perches have come in and I’ve fixed the feeders again.  Still haven’t seen a Robin yet, although I’ve heard others have.  So looking forward to all the colourful birds to come back along with the greenies.  Waiting, waiting.

To say buh bye to February, we are under an Aries Moon in her first quarter.  Just past the New Moon, very dark out and if you’ve got a clear sky, go out and take a look.  The stars were amazing last night.  Venus, Mars and Uranus in the West; Orion high in the South; Jupiter in the East.  February is ruled by Uranus – the wild card planet.  Expect the unexpected and that is exactly what February is for me!  A little “normal” (whatever that is) would be good right about now.

Today’s colour is black.

In the words of our beloved Stuart McLean, who died this February:

“It is my belief that if enough of us write … and if we take the pains to tell the truth about something important to us … that together we will create an extraordinary archive — an archive that will be a snapshot of our country. A picture of who we are, and how we feel about things, and most importantly, what we feel is important.
– Stuart McLean of Vinyl Cafe

See you in March.

Until next time,

-Debra

Day 3 of My Captivity – Neat (So Over Ice)

Hey there,

Day 3 of your what?  My captivity.  No, I haven’t been kidnapped – still eating cake (and cheese).  But being held hostage under the blue roof by ice.  I’m staying inside, without ice – that’s the neat part (get it?).

Three days ago we had freezing rain overnight and although it is melting sloooowwwllllyyyy, it is a mess, not to mention very dangerous out there.  The trees and fences and everything else have been coated in ice, and what looked really pretty at first…by DAY 3, enough already.  The temperature here remains right around the freezing mark during the day.  A little to the south, where the temperature is a degree or two warmer, it’s just wet.  So melting is very slow.  As it melts, great shards drop down, crashing to the ground, or anything else it lands on.

Skewered Squirrel, anyone?

Lots of crashing and banging going on – the blue roof is metal and as the chunks of ice slide their way down, it can sound like a freight train going through.  Frightening if you don’t expect it.  Although rain sounds magnificent!  The snow has been layered with a thick “icing”, which continues over the front walk, making a trek out to get firewood treacherous, despite throwing salt down.

The driveway?  Well, the driveway is about 100 feet long, sloping gently to the west through very tall cedar hedging and it’s fabulous in any season but ice.  I wouldn’t even know what it looks like at the moment because – you guessed it – I’m being held hostage under the blue roof – neat.

In the mornings I am told “not advisable to venture out”.  Not as a command, but in a suggestion, a knowing way…dainty and agile are not words you would use to describe me.  I will fall, twisting something (most likely my ankle, despite the “padding”).  Ice dancing would take on a whole new meaning – Kurt Browning (fun!), move over!

At some point, I’m going to have to get groceries…

I’m at that “what can I make with green beans and cake mix?”
stage of needing groceries

So I continue to gaze out the windows and listen as the descending ice takes leave.  It would be nice if I could at least take the compost out.  But it’s way over there, over the crusty, slippery snow, under the sprawling branches of the large Maple tree out the front, who is desperately trying to shed her coat of ice and it’s landing everywhere. Looking out, it’s hard to believe that in six months’ time, the same Maple will be providing wanted shade and housing the little tree frog that I spoke of here.  Such is the miracle of our seasons.  It just so happens that this isn’t one of my favourites…

The tree rats are skating.

With the ice came wind and there are bits of branches everywhere – stuck in the crusted snow looking like the arms of snowmen, melted, and reaching out for help.

Even just stepping out on the porch…yikes!  Winnie is not happy – she’s not getting the fireside time she loves.  Because it’s reasonably mild – mild for a Canadian winter – I haven’t had the fire going during the day. Ralph is being kept in, because it’s so dangerous, and he’s not loving that.  I’m painting (trim and doors in new laundry room – where there is now a toilet) – not something I adore, so everybody’s cranky.  Sigh

Must. Have. Air.  Sticking nose out the door – CRASH  – Ok, that’s enough – back to jail (not neat).

Two little sodden Downy Woodpeckers, male and female, are taking turns, being on the lookout for falling ice while they partake of the suet.  They can crack through with no problem.

The shrubs are all looking very sad – drooping under their heavy weight.  I’d like to get out and free them, but better not.

The feeders are only a third full.  This better get clearer tomorrow…doom and gloom and heavy fog.  Yuck.

Are we having fun yet?  NO!  And we’re not even into February…

So, I’m planning lots of social time and fun things to do with my friends.  We are definitely going to Canada Blooms in March.  Can’t wait.  Looking back out the window at the Woodpeckers, I can see a few colourful straws poking out from where my gardens are sleeping.  The markers I used to remind me where I planted all those Maple Leaf tulips.  Hopefully, they won’t act like beacons for the tree rats…

Ok, enough whining.  Let’s turn to something more positive.

Owls!  I saw an amazing documentary on the CBC last week.  Watch here, about Great Horned Owls and learned that the owls I hear at night, here, at Blue Roof Living, are one and the same.  Very rarely do I see owls here but I know they’re out there, and now I know what kind they are.  Occasionally, I have been coming home late at night and I’ve caught a brief glimpse of one in my headlights in the trees.  Wow!  Once, not long after I moved up here, I saw a Snowy Owl gliding across the meadow over the snow before it was completely daylight. This huge white bird – it was mesmerizing.  Double Wow!  That was what got me started on all things birds.  It was so exciting.  I haven’t seen one since – owls are very elusive.

Painting, birds and my garden plans are getting me through – what are you up to?  Maybe you’re a snow bunny and you love snow!  More power to ya – wish I felt the same. 🙂

Ok Winnie, time to light a fire and get the book out.  >^..^<  “Yay!” says Winnie.  It really does take very little to make her happy.  A fire and ear rubs, clean water in her water bowl (no Ralph lick, thank you) and some kibble. And don’t forget the clean cat box.  Puuuurrrrrr   Ok, maybe it does take a little, but Winnie is worth it. 🙂

Later I’ll have a soak in the tub with one of my floral oils…Mmmmm memories of flowers to come. Puuuurrrr

Under the Libra Moon tonight; craving lovely things and peaceful times.  Today’s colour is white, like the Snowy Owl.

I’ll leave you to whatever makes you Puuuurrrrr – feel free to share!

Until next time,

-Debra

Lucky Ralph

Ralph

Hey there,

Who’s Ralph you ask?  I’ve always loved cats and  Ralph is one of my current three:  we have Tigger, who is gaining on 22 years of age – yup, that isn’t a typo – she’s still going relatively strong and was a stray but has been with us for about 17 years.  Next, there’s Winifred, or Winnie as we call her – she’s 16, has a high maintenance attitude; she’s very smart and very pretty and she knows it.  (Might have been a “mean girl” in high school – you know the type.)  Then there’s Ralph – he’s our tom cat, also a stray, around 10 years is our best guess.  Does this motley assortment all get along?  Well, they tolerate each other.

Ralph still has a little wild in him and is an imp.  He likes to tease the girls (poke, poke, poke), and they’re old and cranky.  The girls would prefer to be left alone in their beds by the fire in these winter months.  (Seriously, wouldn’t we all?)  If there’s trouble to be found, Ralph will find it.  He’s a big guy and he’s – how can I say this with some sensitivity? – he’s not the sharpest dart on the board. 🙂  Ralph has danced (literally, blissfully) with a skunk on the front lawn at dusk and I’m quite convinced he thought it was another cat.  The good news is, the skunk was dancing too and Ralph was left un-skunked.  But he’s amusing and pretty lovable. (Eye rolls from Winnie.)

So, why is Ralph lucky?  Well, I’m thinking Ralph has used up several of his nine lives in the time that he’s been with us.  This past Friday night was just the latest…(there’s a story coming, cue music – something dark and mysterious).

He knows the rule is, when the street lights come on, you’d better get in here, Mister.  Not that there are street lights up here, but it’s the darkness thing.  Lots of wild critters out and about at night, some of them very large and with lots of teeth.  It can be tough getting him in during summer.  I have been known to stay up until I know he’s in – cursing him the whole time, but waiting up nonetheless.  Calling him, flashing the porch light.  It’s like having a teenage girl in the house again; you can’t sleep until you know she’s safely tucked in her bed.

Anyhoo, Friday night, I’m calling him and calling him and flashing the porch light all evening – no Ralph.  Now, it’s mild out for a winter’s night and Ralph gets a little stir crazy being in when it’s cold, so I’m peeved but not worried.  Finally, it’s around 11:15 pm or so and I want to go to bed.  I go outside into the stillness and the soundless night, listening – and there – what is that sound?  Something faint, but I can definitely hear him calling – he’s way out the back somewhere, and I know he’s in trouble.  When I say way out the back, I mean about eight acres back, in the field, behind the meadow, behind the tree line.  Still on our property, I hope.  It feels like rain and it’s very dark – the Moon is in her first quarter.  Back in the house – hurry; big boots, big coat, gloves, flashlight, husband.  Husband is cursing.  Don’t care – find my cat. 🙂  Out we go.  Tough slogging through the meadow, the snow isn’t too deep but it’s wet.  The farther back we go, the more we can hear him and he’s wailing.  Husband finds him first – he’s almost at the very back of the property, about 15 feet up in a big, ancient tree.  The tree, of course, is not conveniently located at the front of the hedgerow, no, it’s in behind ancient apple trees and buckthorn, and there is an old cow fence with wire and lots of old rocks that have been piled up by farmers over the decades – all under the snow, so we can’t see them.  Problem.  Now what?  I’m not leaving him up there.

Well, I’m calling him and I’ve got the flashlight on him and he’s screaming and can’t get himself loose.  Dun, dun, dun, duuuun  (Better than tv, right?  Almost better than Netflix.)  Husband makes his way back to the barn to grab a ladder.  Not hard to hear him coming back.  Breaking branches and get to tree – ladder too short.  Really cursing now.  Back to barn for bigger ladder (six acres back).  Yay, it’s now raining.  I’m waiting for second ladder (and husband to climb up it), looking at coyote tracks in the snow under the tree and listening to them howl, trying to make Ralph be quiet.  I’m looking for their eyes and thinking to myself, perhaps this isn’t the wisest thing, for me to be out here by myself, without my phone, or anyone around, looking for coyote eyes in the dark.  Too late now…here comes husband again with big ladder.  Wedging it in between tree branches, getting scratched all to crap (still cursing), up he goes.  I’m holding on to the ladder – there’s no sense in both of us going up there.  Ralph is wedged between two huge branches and can’t move.  Not good.  After several attempts to get him out, off comes the belt which is secured around Ralph and he’s yanked out and lowered down to me.  He’s shaking uncontrollably.  He’s wet.  He’s heavy – but he seems to be OK.  Husband OK too.  Bonus.

Back we go to the house.  The only one bleeding is husband.  Ralph can’t use his back legs and he’s in shock.  I wrap him in towels and heating pads.  He’s eating though, so that’s good.  45 minutes later, he stops shaking, he’s purring and he’s able to walk.  It’s 1:30 am, I’m going to bed.

He was obviously chased up that tree by coyote.  Scary stuff.  He was chased a fair way back – I know he mouses in the meadow (a rather unpleasant side effect of being a cat lover in the country – mouse bits – “here Mommy, a prezzie for you, I love you” – thanks Ralph), but he doesn’t go back that far.  I don’t know how long he was up in that tree, but it would have been hours.  His circulation was cut and his muscles stretched, which is why he couldn’t move at first.

That’s him in the photo above, as I write, perfectly fine and happy.  Chalk up another Ralph adventure (and one less Ralph life, I’m sure).

Now some may be asking why I let him out – my answer:  he’s a wild man, a stray from some distant barn, he’s a hunter (not a smart one, but a fast one!) and you can’t keep a wild guy in.  Not if you want him to be happy.

We’ll enjoy Ralph for as long as Ralph enjoys Ralph.  I’ll tell you about the girls another time (“whatever” says Winnie).  Incidentally, Friday’s colour was purple.  Blues are for psychic awareness (woo woo).

How many other cat lovers are out there?  Do you have a story?

Until next time,

-Debra