Archive for May, 2011

Cornerin’ Cats at Catcatcher Corner

May 28, 2011

There’s a touchy little subject for today that I need to touch upon. 

Feral cats.

Let’s talk, you and I.  Let’s talk about feral cats.

Specifically, let’s talk about relocating feral cats.  It’s a subject that’s frowned upon by “experts”, or more properly, those in the field who have more experience with feral cats than I, or those who have read about it and are therefore experts.

I’ve read that under no circumstances should cats be relocated from their colony, unless that colony area is in danger of being destroyed.  Then it appears, by my comprehension of the subject, that it’s okay to relocate them.


Who in their right mind would consider relocating feral cats unless they are in danger?  Well, sometimes the *caregiver* relocates, for whatever reason, and that caregiver wants the cats relocated to another area where they can be fed and sheltered.

It’s my theory that cats create their own colonies based on a food source, a natural or man-made, and if they are relocated to another food source, they can adapt to the new area.  I also have read that ferals cats can live about 3 years on their own.  They have a much shorter life span as an outdoor cat because of lack of care, destruction by people or other animals, and health issues. 

I have a very different setup than all the other managed colonies that I’ve heard of and read about.  There’s a freestanding covered feeding station with two automatic feeders and a watering station, and the cats come and go as they please.  They are truly feral.  I can’t touch any of them, and I rarely see any of them.  The cat ladies that I’ve seen in person or on the internet go to a specific area EVERY DAY to feed the feral cats, and the cats run towards them.  Not true for me.  I just keep putting food in the feeders, and everybody shares.  I don’t know where they go when they are not eating, but there are protected areas, like abandoned houses, old sheds, animal dens, abandoned cars and equipment, and dense woods.  I suspect that some hang out at houses in the vicinity as another source of food and shelter, but I don’t know this for a fact. 

People have heard about my setup, and they want me to take their feral cats.  Some people just want the cats gone, at no expense to themselves, like no spay/neuter, no shots, just come get the cats, prettyplease.  I have to come to an understanding with those people, and I don’t take those cats.  Other people have had the cats vetted, and I can sometimes take those cats.  One fellow in my college classes a few years back asked me if I’d take his two indoor cats.  I said, “What’s wrong with them that you can’t take care of them?”  He said that he and his wife were really busy and just couldn’t give them the attention they needed, and the cats were getting older and pukey, and one needed medicine, and, you know, *you know*, ruthrawls, can you just take them?  I just shook my head and explained how it really needed to play out.  Another woman who worked in a law office about 35 miles away in a busy area (read: cars) called on the phone and asked if I could take their office feral cat because the office was moving two blocks away in the same complex, and they were afraid the cat couldn’t find them and would so go hungry.  I just shook my head and explained that cats were clever creatures, and this particular cat would indeed be able to survive, and give the cat some credit.  Two blocks, and not really even two blocks.  The complex was typical of the development style of this area – leave lots of trees and undergrowth for buffers and plant ornamentals everywhere.  It’s like a jungle and full of great hiding places for cats.  I explained that the cat, if relocated to my colony, would most likely never see people or manmade activity because after all, it’s country out here.  She said she would talk it over with her office mates and decide what to do.  They decided to continue what they were doing, and to gamble that the cat would figure it out and find them. 

The latest request comes from the local animal shelter.  It’s a kill shelter, but it’s a low-kill because of the actions of the board of directors.  They aggressively promote adoptions both at the shelter and at out-lying adoption centers ( like PetSmart, and Petco allows them several cat condos at the store where cats, not dogs, can live until adopted), foster programs, seniors for seniors (where a senior person adopts a senior pet, and if the person becomes unable to care for the pet, the pet goes back into the seniors for seniors program), and volunteer transports to other areas that need adoptable pets.  But.  That usually involves more dogs, and  not so many cats. 

It’s kitten season, and people prefer to adopt kittens, not adult cats.  So the shelter is over-run with cats, and decisions must be made.  Do these nice three adult cats get euthanized to make room for other cats waiting in the quarantine area for a spot in the cat room? 

Carrie, a crabby adult female. (Men, please refrain from your comments.)


Dennis, a handsome crabby adult male. (Ladies, comments please.)


Ozzie, a young adult male, with spooky golden eyes. He's a brat.

Welcome to Catcatcher Corner.  What the heck, I went ahead this week and applied to become a non-profit.

The Starr Family Plot in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA

May 22, 2011

The Starr Family Plot in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA

The threshold to the plot

We had a little LawtonFest today, only it involved Starrs.  You know how one thing leads to another.  I was looking online at for Sugar during a gabfest about the Basinger and Starr families out of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  I thought for sure I’d find some supporting evidence like tombstone pictures, death dates, family links, you know, that kind of fascinating stuff.  There was a hole where there should have been stuff, so we decided to head out to Bonaventure Cemetery, the one mentioned in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, where the Starr plot is.

We found folks we’d never heard of.  I’ve been working on posting the pictures to findagrave and ancestry this evening, and I’ve spent far too long in front of the computer….

Adeline R. Starr, 1802-1887. Her occupation on one census was “Lady of Leisure”. This marker is in the left front of the plot.

William & Ann Starr. This marker is at the right front.

This plot in a plot has some illegible markers, along with the center headstone lying on its face. We debated what to do about the fallen marker. We think we might lift it up to see what it says, and we wonder if there are cemetery police who might frown on such actions.

Sarah Basinger, 1809-1816, only daughter of Peter & Elizabeth Basinger.

Starr unknown.

John G. Starr

Charles H. Starr

William Starr

Starr unknown.

Elizabeth Basinger, 11 months. Directly behind this marker is an outlined grave. Whose grave is this?

No memorial for this child’s grave.

In the back left corner of the plot is Edwin Pearson Starr, the son of Charles Henry Starr. This Edwin Pearson was named for his uncle Edwin Pearson Starr, who is buried in Charleston, SC.

Next we have Jane Starr Basinger, Sugar’s great-great-grandmother. Jane is the mother of William Basinger, a Savannah attorney, who married Margaret Roane Garnett from Virginia.

Lastly, we have Elizabeth “Georgia” Basinger. She is the daughter of Jane Starr Basinger and Thomas Elisha Basinger. Thomas died young after the two children William and Elizabeth “Georgia” were born, and his widow Jane never remarried. “Georgia” herself never married.

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My Other Brother Darrell

May 22, 2011

As promised, here’s Darrell’s other brother Darrell.  They really are brothers.  You can read about the first brother Darrell by clicking here.  These Darrells live in a small colony east of my little town in a littler town named Grahamville which was wiped out when Sherman came through.  If you don’t know who Sherman is, then I can’t help you.  (And on a side note:  When I was growing up I didn’t understand the commotion about the Civil War.  Then I moved to this area about 7 years ago, met Sugar, and we started doing family research.  When Sherman burned his path to the sea to Savannah, his armies turned and headed northerly into South Carolina.  There are still reminders of the scars of that burning that are present today.  And that was when I *got it*.)

Here's Darrell just prior to his release. He's been neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped on his left ear.

BioBags, O Yeah

May 21, 2011

I really dislike having an indoor cat.  Not because I dislike an indoor cat, but because I DISLIKE a litter box.  And I dislike how almost every evening when I’m talking on the phone to Sugar, Alice uses the litter box.  (Not sure what she’s commenting about.)  Her litter box is located in the fold-down bed compartment over the driver and passenger seats.  I took out the mattress years ago (Could that be – was it really years ago when I started living in this box?), and that’s where Gladys the guinea pig and Jopty the gerbil live in their cages.  So that makes Alice’s litter box about two feet above my head when I sit in my chair at the computer and on the telephone. 

I’ve used the plastic doggy litter bags to dispose of the contents when I scoop out her box.  Last week I ran out of plastic.  In search of a better bag, I found *COMPOSTABLE!* poop bags.  I was so excited, I could just poop share the good news with you.

Regular polyethylene-based plastic bags can take over 100 years to degrade and are not compostable.  Less than 2% of all plastic bags ever get recycled.  Plastic bags litter our streets, backwoods, and waterways.  Studies indicate that 100,000 marine animals and 2 million birds die every year from ingesting or being caught up in plastic debris.

Some manufacturers are blending additives to polyethylene to produce “degradable” bags.  Unfortunately, this process fragments the bags into pieces of plastic debris that do not meet the ASTM D6400 standard for compostable plastic.

Nature Knows The Difference.

BioBag products are made from GMO Free starch, vegetable oil and the world’s first patented polymer.  No polyethylene is used in the production process.  We are fully certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and meet the requirements of California and Minnesota law regarding ASTM Compliance.

Kittens and Parvo and Snakebite, Oh My!

May 11, 2011

Two days ago a woman who feeds a colony of feral cats here in my little town called me.  She had just picked up 4 kittens that appeared at her colony, and they appeared to be about 6 weeks old.  She asked me, “What’s the best thing to do with them?” 

Like I know something.

I told her that I’d come by and look at them at lunchtime, and in the meantime, I’d give it some thought. 

What to do with them depends on their age, size, and condition.  If their health is compromised, they perhaps need more care than I can provide, like the two kittens from the old house where the man committed suicide.  If they are weak, or underdeveloped, and cannot eat by themselves, they need to be bottle fed.  I knew that I couldn’t keep them inside the RV with me because of Alice, the feline-leukemia-positive cat – they would end up with the disease and would be unadoptable, especially in this part of the country where cats are commonplace – why adopt a compromised cat when you can adopt a healthy one.  At any rate, I knew I’d figure something out.

I had lunch with Sugar and then we went to the kittenhouse.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Four angry little hissing, spitting machines were in the crate.  I took them, and called the shelter to see if they were full of kittens because, after all, it is kitten season.  They said they would take them.  I said that I wanted to know if they were full, because these kittens needed handling to bring them around.  They said they would take them.  I said if they put them in quarantine and no one handles them, the kittens’s disposition will not improve.  They said they would take them. 

Here’s my issue:  if they take them, because they have to since they were picked up in this county, the kittens have to go to quarantine, then be tested for feline leukemia.  If they test positive, they are euthanized.  While they are in quarantine, it is quite likely that they will not get the handling they need for socialization to humans. 

So I’ll keep them in an enormous guinea pig enclosure in the shed.  Every day I’ll take two in a crate with me to work, and I’ll handle them throughout the day.  They’ll have food and water, they’ll hear everyday noises, and they’ll be accustomed to people. 

Sugar had the next day off, and we went to lunch again, and sat at the outdoor seating at the Mexican restaurant.  The kittens went with us.

So young that their eyes have not turned yet. The blue eyes are not permanent.


At home in the guinea pig cage in the shed. The cage is enormous, big enough for a litter box, a bed, and several bowls.Three girls and one boy.

Today we had a report of a parvo case coming in.  The owners were asked to leave the puppy in the vehicle.  Parvo is so contagious that a person can carry the virus in on the soles of their shoes, so just imagine what a puppy emitting bloody diarrhea could transmit.  Any time we get a dog or puppy on the table in the exam room, and it turns out to be parvo, we have to use bleach everywhere in the entire office.  This particular puppy, a young Rottweiler, lay near lifeless on the tailgate of the truck.  The dog had been sick for 4 days, and the owners were actually from a neighboring county, where they reported that one vet they went to there said that he sees about 3 parvo cases every day.  Parvo is running rampant in that county.  The owner said he was an EMT and had been giving intravenous fluids, but he didn’t know how the puppy had gotten parvo because he had a new house, and that parvo could only live for one year.  I disagreed with his statement about only living for one year in the environment, but, at that point, it hardly mattered how the dog had gotten it.  We’ll know more in two days if he makes it.  (Edited on 5/12/11:  the pup died 30 minutes after they got him home.  If your pup is not eating, don’t wait – seek medical help!)

Then, the snakebite case arrived, and they brought the dead snake with them.  That was a first.

I fished Mr. Copperhead out of the trashcan for this visual record. The floor tiles are the 12" kind, so he looks to be about 18" long.

My grandmother Packett declared that the only good snake was a dead snake. Any snake in her yard was fair game for her hoe. I could almost feel sorry for any snake facing a serious little formerly-red-haired hoe-wielding Irish woman. Almost.

Chester The Baby Squirrel

May 9, 2011

Last week Chester the baby squirrel was saved from a certain death.  He had fallen out of a tree and was lying on the ground.  Mr. Crow was hopping closer, and closer, when an interested person scooped up Chester and brought him to the vet’s office.  I syringed copious quantities of strained baby food into his mouth, and he became incredibly sleepy.  He’s since been released back into the wild.

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Happy Mother’s Day, 5/8/2011!

May 8, 2011

Today we went out and about.  We had a super-fun lunch at the Distillery in Savannah, then went to the health food store, then headed out to see Ms. Florrie.  She’s 98 years old!  I made a little video of her for her granddaughter in New York.

As Promised, Darrell the Feral

May 8, 2011

Darrell: "Hi. I'm Darrell. Let me out now."


Darrell: "I have to go now. I hear my mother calling."

Here’s the latest feral, Darrell, after being neutered.  He’s in the trap in the back of my car for transport to his release site.  Note the heavy-duty plastic garbage bag under him in case he voids his plumbing.  He was happy to get out of the trap.

Old Letter from L.B. Gamble to his sister Martha Rhea, March 22, 1904

May 4, 2011

Corley Ark           March 22, 1904

Dear Sister          This leaves us up as well as common and hope will find you the same.  I got a letter from Sister Ruth today.  She wrote me that Sister Sallie Johnson died suddenly at 12:30 March the 9th.  She had been complaining some and had got dinner and washed her dishes and went across the street to Mollie’s at 12 o’clock and at 12:30 fell over dead.  Ruth said she had dropsy & heart trouble and weighed 238 lbs the last time she was weighed.   Ruth was in Atlanta when she died and came home in time to see her buried in Woodlawn Cemetery and that she was staying with Dave and Charlie for the present at 310 East Cumberland St., Knoxville, Tenn, and for you to write to her at that no.  I had a letter from Jim Gamble from Texas yesterday he said they was all well.  Also one from Nettie Gamble, Will Gamble’s girl at Newport Ark.  She said they was all well.  Hope to hear from you soon.  I will close for this time with our love to all.

                Your Brother

                L. B. Gamble

                Box 28

                Corley Ark



My great-great-grandmother was Ruth Gamble Collins, the sister of Larkin Boling Gamble, who is mentioned in this letter.  The woman that died was another sister, Sarah “Sallie” Johnson, the wife of Dave Johnson.  This Gamble family had a large number of siblings, a good many of whom moved westward.  Larkin Boling Gamble moved from Arkansas to Oregon.  Those letters are yet to come!

Old Letter From Lark Gamble to His Sister Martha “Matt” Gamble Rhea, April 29, 1904

May 2, 2011

Corley Ark April 29th 04

Dear Sister & family        Yours came to hand yesterday.  Glad to hear that you were all alive and reasonably well.  We are only sorter.  I have had a hard time this winter taken the Lagrippe in Dec and was hardly able to be up when Annie (his wife) was taken with pneumonia and then for over 3 weeks I was at her bedside from 16 to 20 hours out of 24.  Have had awful rheumatism all winter and since I wrote to you I have been so bad I could not turn over in  bed.  I am some better now but have had a stomach and bowel trouble for over a week but am a little better of that.  Had a letter from Ruth a few days ago.  She was back at her colledge farm boarding house and said Birdie had gone back to Atlanta Georgia and was to be married in a day or two and then go to Portsmouth to live.  She married a Mr. Jackson.  Mag Gamble writes me that her (illegible) was still alive but was weak not able to be up most of the time.

                Ruth wrote me that Jim Cochran was dead and that Minnie & Mary were both married and lived in Memphis Tennessee and that Minnie had been to Knoxville this winter on a visit.  Ruth said Jim was sick and had a hard chill taken a dose of medicine went to bed and was dead in a short time.  Have had no letters from Andy’s folks for some weeks they was all well at that time.  Em Rodgers and Tish Rhea Hute’s girls at or near the same place where Andy lives Mexia, Limestone Co. Texas and not over 80 or 100 miles from Cleburn where Oscar is.  I got letters from Nettie Gamble and L. B. Gamble from Newport Ark they are Will Gamble’s children.  Andy’s 2nd son Willie (?) wrote me that Pleasant H. Boling Uncle Pleas youngest son before and said that his wife had died a few days before and that he was coming to visit Will but had not come yet. 

     Well we have a nice garden considering the cold backward weather we have had mustard, lettuce, radishes for 3 weeks or we have had several messes of mustard greens.  The fruit prospect is not very good not many peaches, pears or plums.  Apples scattering some trees full others none and some scattering most of the corn is planted and cotton is being planted right along but the weather is still cool and cloud most of the time.

     I have had 3 swarms of bees but it is so cool they can do nothing.  I have 78 hives and am depending on the honey crop for a living to some extent but if it soon don’t get warm so the bees can work think the honey crop will be slim but hope for the best any way.  There is 12 acres of corn planted and 10 is all ready to plant in cotton.  On our place this year I keep some land for buckwheat for the pastor’s truck patches orchard vineyard is 5 or 6 acres in all.  Annie & some neighbor girls have gone fishing to day and fear they will catch more cold than fish as the wind is chilly.

We have 100 or more young chickens.  And not one of them but what is full blooded barred Plymouth Rock.  We keep no other and have not for 3 or 4 years.  So every chicken we have is as much alike as peas out of the same hull.  Well I will close.  Don’t wait so long about writing and come and see us when you can.  We are poor fokes but as clever as we can be and you mout like us after you got acquainted with us.  We have a few nice flowers but the yard is open to dogs, chickens and every thing else so flowers has a hard time to exist.

Well Dock play the old Blue Eagle and think of me.

                Your brother Lark

Box 28   Corley   Ark