Time for a Change

February 17, 2018

Most of you folks reading this blog know that I write about limited subjects like genealogy, cats, yarn, knitting, and dead people.

My dead people subjects are about people in my family, or Sugar’s family, that we are related to by blood or marriage. Sugar and I have had multiple outings and meetings that came about because of genealogy, but I don’t have to tell you about those things again, because you read the blog.

Something I have refrained from writing about is how I tend to bitch about stuff. Maybe you didn’t know that I could be a raging pain-in-the-ass. That’s not how I want to be remembered. I don’t want to write about current events or politics or work events.

This week has been an earth-shaker. I’m in a whirling rage about the school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died.

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I woke up this morning, and I heard a crow call from a nearby field. And I thought, “Seventeen people will never hear a bird’s song again.” I’m discouraged that an ordinary civilian can get their hands on an AR-15. I don’t know very much about guns (so you gun people, if you’re out there, can bash me in the comments). I’ve shot a shotgun, and I won an award in college for marksmanship. It seems wrong that a weapon of wartime can be available to the public.

I don’t own a gun, and last year someone said to me, “Don’t you live alone? You need a gun.” My response is that I don’t need a gun; I’ll just throw a cat at an intruder. In truth, who would intrude here? I have nothing worth stealing. I have an iphone with a cracked screen. I have a 6-year-old netbook that is undependable. I have the response-time of a tortoise. Nobody is going to break in here. The door is always open. People think I’m crazy and they avoid me. I need a gun like I need another hole in my head.

I have no clue what my ancestors politics were.

*****

There have been some shake-ups going on at work for about a year. Some of the accounts have been put on hold for non-payment. The owner of the practice finalized his divorce and brought his girlfriend back into the workplace. Some of the higher-ups did away with direct deposit, and employees got paper checks at the end of the payday, which caused a disruption in work flow, since people were fleeing the building to deposit their checks. There has been anxiety, and frustration, and sadness, and anger. You can imagine the scenario.

Most recently, some of the paychecks bounced or were put on hold. Imagine that scene: your paycheck is put on hold for 10 days. By the time the check is good, it’s almost payday again.

Yesterday, we got a company-wide email that the Chief Operating Officer and the Human Resources manager had been let go, and that the assistant to the COO would be handling the finances and payroll, and that another manager would be handling Human Resources. And that the girlfriend would be assisting with company finances, not that she was named in the email as the girlfriend. But we all know that she is, even though we are not allowed to acknowledge this in the workplace for fear of losing our jobs, which actually happened to several people a few years ago when the relationship came to light.

*****

Last night, when I arrived home, Mr. Scruffy was crouched in the treehouse. I haven’t seen him in a few weeks, and I know that it is mating season. I have had a lot on my plate, and I haven’t attempted to set the trap. I rarely see him, and a trapping event would need a lot of coordination with Sugar and the vet clinic. Whatever. I didn’t do it.

I stayed in the car, and saw through the window that he looked like he was in bad shape. The cheek on his left side was almost degloved, and the skin was hanging and I could see the meat of his face. He called softly to me, and I got a can of food from the trunk of the car and popped it into a dish and slid the dish onto the treehouse. He was able to eat it. I went inside.

I lay down last night and couldn’t get up. I knew that I needed to set the trap, but didn’t have the strength to get up and do it, because I knew that I’d need to monitor it during the night, and I just didn’t have it in me to stay away. I was drained.

*****

This morning, he is missing. The people at the school in Parkland are dead. Two people at work are unemployed. Most of the employees are in despair that things are going to be better at work.

For the record, I hate what is happening to our country. It is crumbling under our feet.

And friends? I realize that I am preaching to the converted.

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Snow 2018, Lowcountry Style

February 13, 2018

I forgot to write about the snow. Probably it was more like I was huddled in my blanket fort singing the blues.

After all, my Ole Yeller had just been smashed exactly one week before the predicted ice and snow. And after one day back at work on January 2, I was in no mood to drive on ice and snow covered roads in a brand new car that I had owned for less than 3 days.

I stayed home. I could hear the sleet outside until about 10:30AM, just like it was predicted, and then the sleet turned to fluffy flakes that piled up about 5ish inches.

The next day I refused to go out, even though I had planned to ride in with a friend. The friend wasn’t able to go to work after all because some of the bridges were closed, and in an area where approximately 50% of the county is water, that’s a sign to stay home.

Late morning I walked out to the main road.

The cats were stationed ’round about the property on snow patrol.

Sugar had the most excellent idea of getting a bale of hay days before the predicted bad weather in order to refill the cats’ sleeping quarters.

Later that day, I got a message from work asking if I would be able to work the following day. I realize that businesses need to make plans, but I didn’t plan on leaving unless the temps got as high as predicted and melted the yuk away. I didn’t need to miss any more work than necessary, because somebody has got to bring the Friskies home.

By midday on the 3rd day, it was safe to go out.

And that was the winter of 2018.

Mr. Catpurrnip and Mr. Orange

February 10, 2018

Something very odd has happened between those two boys. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Mr. Catpurrnip is the newest cat in the colony. Mr. Orange has been here for several years.

Mr. Catpurrnip is a transplant from Sugar’s place. Mr. Orange is an old, grumpy-faced cat that just showed up here several years ago. It took a year to trap him.

Mr. Orange has never interacted with any of the other cats. He always stayed the farthest away from me.

One evening I arrived home, and Catpurrnip and Orange began acting out a greeting ritual to each other. It was like they were actors in a play solely for me. They stretch and bow to each other and butt foreheads and rub against each other.

They don’t sleep or nest together. They will eat from the same food bowl. They only do this greeting ritual when I am headed to the car to leave or when I have driven in to the driveway. It’s actually bizarre.

The following video shows the intensity of their greeting for each other. By the time I get the camera out to start recording, I have already missed the initial bowing and stretching routine. Apparently I am the trigger that causes this behavior.

Amazing to see that animals can feel such strong attraction and affection for each other. I am guessing that some of the behavior is self-satisfying, much in the same way that cats purr to make themselves feel better. I have seen cats purr in the exam room after being hit and badly damaged by a car. The vet explained that purring releases endorphins.

So enjoy some more weirdness happening here at the Cat-Catching and Head-Butting Facility.

The Death of My Companion

January 20, 2018

Spoiler alert:

This post is not about Sugar.

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On the morning of December 27, 2017, I was tootling along in Ole Yeller on the way to work. The sun had just come up, and I was driving along, just like always, when 3 things happened in rapid succession: a loud boom-BOOM, the windshield browned out, and the car lurched up and down like something had dropped out of the sky onto the hood.

The brown back and body of something really large, like an enormous dog, lay across the hood. I could see the hair, the pattern of the hair growth, and the small tail. What was happening? This was like the twilight zone. As I watched, the animal lifted its head from where it had been hanging off the passenger side of the car, out of sight. I could feel my eyes growing ever wider when I saw a full set of antlers. Apparently as I had been driving along through a wooded area on the way to work, a deer was running for his life. It was hunting season, and there are traditional hunts that take place after Christmas. He must have leaped from the treeline, trying to clear the road, and was not expecting my little car with the quiet sewing machine engine. His front hooves must have skidded on the hood, and his body landed flat. Once his head was erect, he started flailing with his front hooves, trying to leap off the car. One of his hooves broke the passenger window, and glass pebbles showered everywhere. Then he was gone. The car was still running, and I pulled in at the community center. Poor Ole Yeller is no more. And if that deer had been six inches closer to me and the windshield, I would be no more.

The 2017 FlowerFest, Part Two

January 15, 2018

We finished up Part One at Bonaventure and Laurel Grove and ran out of time.

So, two days before Christmas, we head to Robertville for Part Two.

This was at the Robertville Baptist Church, which was formerly known as Blackswamp Baptist Church.

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The above photo is of the marker for George and Phoebe Mosse that Sugar had installed earlier in 2017.

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I noticed several markers that were in the next plot on the west side of the Lawton plot.

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BAYNARD POLLOCK

BAYNARD POLLOCK

First son of

Dr. J.S. & Mrs S.C

LAWTON

Died

May 16th 1844

Aged 3 months

& 28 days.

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CLARENCE GEORGE

CLARENCE GEORGE

Second son of

Dr. J.S. & Mrs S.C.

LAWTON

Died

June 10th 1847

Aged 1 month

& 10 days.

FC6AEDCD-24F1-489C-9608-5944EC781228

Mrs. ESTHER M. HUGHES

IN

Memory of

Mrs. ESTHER M. HUGHES

who died

25th Sept. 1837

Aged 65 yrs. 6 mos. 7ds.

For many years she lived

a useful member of the

Baptist Church,

And died in strong hope

of a blessed immortality.

“Blessed are the dead who

die in the Lord, they rest

from their labors, and

their works do follow

them.”

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We think the last name is ROBERT.

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Finished here, and we headed to the Robert Cemetery.

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The poinsettia is placed across the cemetery between John Robert and his wife Elizabeth Dixon Robert.

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Chipmunks? Squirrels? leave signs that they were here.

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This panorama shot is another skill that I am working on. This is the entire Robert Cemetery.

Annnd we’re done. See you next year!

In Which Things Are Complicated

January 12, 2018

I have been locked out of my blog for over 2 weeks.

There’s a thing called an update. WordPress wouldn’t let me comment or write new blog posts unless I updated. So I updated.

I got locked out.

It was complicated trying to get back in. And there were complicated things going on at the same time, as in a deer was leaping from the woods across the road and misjudged the difference and landed on the hood of my car while I was driving it.

He also shattered the passenger window.

The good news is that, after a series of emails with WordPress, I’m back in.

And I have a new car.

I miss Ole Yeller.

But I’m baaaaack.

The 2017 FlowerFest

December 25, 2017

Suddenly another year has gone by.

Last year we were festive early in December. This year found us much closer to Christmas before we made our annual Publix poinsettia run. We’ve considered not doing this any more, but we don’t have many Christmas customs, and it seems like we should keep this one, as long as the money holds out.

Yes, that is a bag of Cheetos.

Eight or nine-ish poinsettias should be enough.

Off to Laurel Grove in Savannah first.

Do you remember the Jones-Lawton mausoleum? And how the veneer on the rear fell off, most probably after the heavy rains of Hurricane Matthew last year? Sugar’s cousin Emily has been researching the restoration costs. Repair (or estimates) for a building that is over 150 years old is not cheap nor quickly done. And like most things, when you start assessing a problem, you find more problems. So you Lawton and non-Lawton folks out there, we’ll be working on a Dropbox where you can view the assessment and make a contribution toward repair.

But first: poinsettias.

These girls look thirsty, and Sugar waters them after placement.

We have a new photographer in the mix.

This time of day always make the red of the poinsettia pop out against the gray mausoleum.

We take a quick look at the deterioration overall and also one of the test sites by the company that is providing the estimate. It seems that in years past, a 6″ thick layer of concrete was added to the top of the original marble.

There are wooden members that were added, most probably to give the cement something to cling to, like old school plasterwork inside a house.

The rear of the building where the veneer came off…

7th Cours Rear

9th Cours Rear

We find that every year we locate a flower pot that we have left from the year before in random plots.

Over to see the Batesons now.

He knows how he wants this to be.

He keeps a digger tool in the van.

I just trot along and take photos.

Since Sugar has joined Facebook, he’s a bit unhappy that he shows up in so many of my photos. I told him that his descendants will be happy to see how he is chronicled. Still, not convinced.

A quick lunch at the Sentient Bean is in order on the way to Bonaventure.

Dr. Tucker is our first stop.

We still don’t know why he and his wife are buried in the Corbin plot. We found them here a few years ago when we were tracing Albert Sidney Lawton who married Tayloe Corbin.

When we stand in front of the marker, the angle of the sun makes shadows on the gravestone. I stand behind the gravestone, lean over to take the photo, and then rotate the photo, which is about the extent of my editing capabilities. But sometimes I crop and lighten and straighten, and those simple actions can definitely improve a photo.

Now to the Basingers. This plot is always shady, even in the winter. The trees are wonderful here.

The Starrs are directly across the lane.

The pot from last year is in the same location and has grown a magnificent stalk of grass.

Then we head over to the grand plot of Alexander Robert Lawton.

The light is always so light and clear over here by the river.

We finish here and go someplace we’ve never been.

The family of Conrad Aiken has a tragic story. It is easily found on the internet. I’ll just say that Conrad’s parents died on the same day.

We end our FlowerFest for today here with the Aikens. We have more poinsettias for the Mosse family and the Robert Family in the Robertville area in South Carolina…

Which is a story for another day.

Meet Collins Catpurrnip

December 20, 2017

Sugar: I think the neighbors got a cat.

YoursTruly: The same neighbors that set your property on fire?

Sugar: Yes, I’ve seen a cat in my yard, and I saw him at the neighbors.

YoursTruly: No. Way. Those. People. Have. A. Cat. NOPE.

Sugar: Maybe he’s a stray.

YoursTruly: (rolls eyes) You’ve only had 3 in a year. He’s probably a stray.

*****

We were headed out and about, just driving about halfway along Sugar’s driveway, when he spotted the cat in the neighbor’s yard, crouched down behind an overturned rusty metal bucket. Those people are yard ornament collectors of sorts, but none of their collectibles seem to have any value. There’s a deceased boat, and sections of chain link fencing, and assorted vehicles, and yard debris, and garden statues of dubious value, and the remains of their yard-burning extravaganza. There were plenty of places for a feral cat to hide, but this one was huddled by the overturned bucket

We stopped and put out a can of food, because doesn’t everyone carry canned cat food in the car? He scooted away, feral-style.

*****

Sugar set his trap one evening and caught the little guy almost immediately. I had offered to take him, because the little guy’s presence was making Sugar’s cats go nuts.

After being tested and neutered and vaccinated and ear-tipped, we let him go in my woods by the cat dormitory. He skittered away like a water bug, zigzagging out of sight through the trees.

Sometimes I don’t see cats again after release. I can only hope that they will return for food and shelter after their initial panic. I didn’t see the little guy for almost a week. I returned home from work after dark, and I thought I saw him at the feeding station on the picnic table.

A few evenings later, I heard a high-pitched mewing close by the driveway near The Treehouse.

This was definitely he and not the Scruffy Cat that has been hanging around.

He started showing up in the daytime. Sugar would ask about him every day, and I told him he was going to have to give the cat a name. He knows that I have a few cats that hang around that don’t have names. It’s not like they are going to come when I call them. But if I was going to have to give a progress report every day on this damn cat, then I wanted him to have a name.

Sugar drew a blank in the name game. He suggested that I name him. I rose to the challenge.

Alright, he was going to be Collins after my Collins family, and… hmmmm… and…

Catpurrnip. Collins Catpurrnip.

Mr. Catpurrnip managed to climb into The Treehouse. Sue is harmless and non-confrontational. (Sue has a name because she had to go to the vet, and Cat1000 seemed like a bad idea.)

So he’s not very feral. I would call him a “soft feral”, as opposed to “hard-core”. Soft ferals can be seen in the daytime, but can’t really be handled. There are varying degrees of feral-ness.

He’s not fully integrated into the group. He hasn’t figured out where his place is. Is it okay to be in The Treehouse? Is it okay to eat at the same time from the same dish with another cat? Which cat? Is someone going to chase him away?

The answer is no, no one is chasing Mr. Catpurrnip. But he’s the one that has to get that all sorted out in his brain.

He soon learned that he can’t eat out of the same dish at the same time as Georgia because she will purr and headbutt you and make happy feet on you, which is never good for the digestion.

Welcome to the ‘hood, Mr. Catpurrnip!

Elvis the Kitten

December 14, 2017

Six newborn kittens were left in a cardboard box on a nature trail. They were found the next day and taken to the shelter where it was estimated that the babies were born the day before. Their umbilical cores were still attached.

The shelter called me to bottlefeed them. This kept them going until a nursing mother was found. I ended up fostering them after they were weaned, and they stayed.

The shelter had named this guy Jeff, but you can see that he’s a hunka hunka burnin’ love.

He has taken to living in the wild. I see him at most once a week. This suits his nature. Here he is free to come and go as he pleases, and he doesn’t suffer for it.

Sometimes I look at those cute cat toys for sale, and they are so cute that I want to buy some. Then I remind myself that the cats have the trees and the sky and the earth and all of the wonderful exploring here. Someday, this too will end, but for now, it is a pretty awesome adventure.

Read a Book

December 13, 2017

When I was in elementary school, I decided that I would read all the books in the library. My system was going to start with all titles beginning with the letter A and work my way through, basically working through the shelves from left top shelf to bottom right shelf.

This quickly proved to be a faulty system. There were books I didn’t want to read, even though I tried. I also found that I was reading things out of sequence, if there was a series of books, because someone else had checked out the other books. I read “Those Happy Golden Years” first, and was amazed to find that Laura Ingalls Wilder had written other books.

Things changed for me. Life. Work ensued, marriage happened, children came, complications arose. This left zero time and money for books and reading.

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I’m past all that now, but I’m still not reading books. The biggest issue was my eyesight, which starts to get fuzzy in the evening with tired eyes. I’m also more interested in electronic reading and British tv watching.

I’m interested to see that people ask for suggestions online for books to read. These people are professionals, women in general, with families and social life. How do these people have time to commit to reading a book start to finish?

There’s a little library nearby that has a book sale every week. I twisted Sugar’s arm in going. He’s a book snob, and he’ll tell you so himself. He doesn’t read novels; he collects serious, thoughtful, critical-thinking-type books. He suspected that a small-town Library wouldn’t have books of his nature, and he was right. But he humored me, and we went.

I found a couple of books by Josephine Humphreys, and got them mostly because we had met her. I was also drawn to intriguing titles or reviews or covers. Yes, I was judging books by their covers. Sometimes when a thing tells you what it is, you should believe it. One that I chose was “The Memory-Keeper’s Daughter”.

Y’all, when I started to read this, I discovered that I had already read it. How was this possible? When? Where did I get it before?

DAMN, THIS READING THING WAS GOING TO BE HARD.

I tried a different book. The books were cheap, and I had gotten several. I made my way through “The Mermaid Chair” in a weekend. I tried another, but decided if I wasn’t interested in the first few pages, I would read a few pages near the end, and if that didn’t work for me, I’d try another book. Life is too short to make yourself pursue something you are not interested in. Sadly, this was going to have to include books.

I tried “A Spool of Blue Thread”. Might be about sewing. I never found out.

I tried a quilting novel. Elm Creek Quilts, maybe? That and “Spool” have been left at a free street library in Savannah.

“The Family Tree” by Carole Cadwalladr was spellbinding. It takes place in England, so that was a bonus for me.

Ooooh! “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is excellent! Interesting structure because the book is a series of letters written to and from a varied cast of characters. I could read it again.

I have a tote-bag full of more. The biggest problem with reading novels at this point in my life? The commitment. I’d rather be reading and watching news stories, social media, and blogs.

I’ve become a critic of writing styles and subject matter. And I don’t like to be critical, because Lord knows that I hate being criticized myself. And what is going on in the world today is far more interesting than reading a so-so novel.

So y’all? If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, looking at the iPhone. Because you can’t read a book under the covers without a flashlight.