Archive for July, 2018

FireAnts Afloat

July 23, 2018

Back last year after the round of hurricanes, one news item that caught my eye was how displaced fire ants can form a living raft to survive the floodwaters.

Have you ever been stung by a fire ant? Imagine the horror of bobbing along in the floodwaters and seeing a living raft of fire ants coming your way.

Fortunately I have never been caught up in floodwaters, but last week I noticed that the cats seemed hungry even though the feeder in The Treehouse was half-full.

Here’s Bugsy in a shot from April this year so you can see the set-up. The feeder sits in a giant saucer with water in it to discourage bugs. The theory is that insect can’t get to the food because of the water barrier.

On this particular day when the cats seemed so hungry, yet the feeder wasn’t empty, I found that the feeder was full of fire ants even though the water barrier was intact.

Those clever opportunists had built a raft.

The Crazy Cat Lady Tote Bag

July 22, 2018

Have you noticed that the commercially made tote bags are made from the same fabric as the Friskies cat food bags?

Of course you haven’t. Why would you?

A few years ago I got the bright idea that I would stitch up some tote bags using the cat food bag fabric. It’s like a woven plastic with a sheen, and it slid under the presser foot uncontrollably. I gave it up. It wasn’t meant to be.

This month all the stars and planets came into alignment.

I have been using the empty cat food bags as recycling bags for empty cans and plastic containers. I’ll have to find another storage container for those recyclables because the cat lady tote bag is a happening thing.

The secret was to adjust the tension on the sewing machine. I’m using a basic Brother machine with some zigzag and buttonhole features.

I told over the top of the bag and stitch a double row of straight stitches to secure the hem. I measure from the top down about 20″ and cut there. The bag is already in a stout tube shape so there is no side seam to stitch. Turn the bag inside out and seam across the bottom. Flatten the bag so that the bottom seam touches the imaginary side seam and creates a point. Stitch another seam about 4″ long across the point. Do this also on the other end. Trim off the point.

I like to use the original strip of fabric that was stitched across the top of the bag at the factory to close the bag, and use it to encase the bottom seams. It makes the bag very strong and hold its shape.

I ordered some polyethylene strapping online from an Etsy shop. Cut a length about 20″ long and seal the end by passing the cut end over an open flame like a lit match. One quick pass is enough.

Stitch the ends onto the bag, one strap per side. I know that y’all are smart people, and you can look at another tote you might already have and figure it out.

Now the fun cat pictures.

This was the first bag. The bottom seemed stout, and I hadn’t figured out the seam construction yet, so this 1st bag is a cut off bag with a turned-down stitched top and added straps. This might suit your purposes completely. I’ve used this one for a small load of laundry for the first time and then for groceries.

I studied the construction of a Trader Joe’s bag, courtesy of Sugar’s cousin Liz, and another smaller bag from a rescuer friend Kimberly.

My bag is in the middle. I used the bottom seam, but hadn’t yet improved it with the seam binding.

Moving on. A Beneful bag FROM a coworker turned into a tote FOR a coworker.

I further improved the construction by folding across the bottom, end to end, and stitching next to the fold. This bag stands upright by itself.

I cut my own seam binding from a leftover trimming from the top of the bag. The photo below shows the bag inside-out so that you can see the construction.

I’ve decided that I like the bag to be about 17″ high, and the base to be about 4″ deep. I’m using 1″ wide strapping. Many thanks go to the quality control team of Pop-Up and The Butter. I sent a little message to the Friskies people to show them what I am doing. The owner at the Alvin Ord’s sandwich shop in Beaufort has offered to save her bags for me. (They have a nice resident cat that I wrote about before.) This offer makes me think of all the places that use cat food. Shelters, kennels, businesses, pet owners – all potential sources of bags to be kept out of the landfill. Do you want a bag? Send me a little donation to my paypal at ruthmarierawlsATgmailDOTcom, and email your address to me, and I’ll pop a bag in the mail as soon as I stitch up some more. You people that have already sent a donation, sit tight. Your bag is coming soon!

Nine Years!

July 20, 2018

1/1/1893: Good for Lenoir City

July 11, 2018

From GenealogyBank: 1/1/1893, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tennessee.


The news published this morning from Lenoir City is of the most gratifying character, gratifying not only to the people of that immediate community, but to Knoxville and all East Tennessee. For Lenoir city, it signifies as Mr. Sanford, the able president of the company, says, that Lenoir City is destined to become the Pullman of the south. It means that Lenoir City is to become the site of one of the largest manufacturing establishments south of the Ohio river, an establishment that will cost many of thousands of dollars and furnish in its erection, employment for hundreds of mechanics and workingmen. It means, when completed, lucrative employment all the time for a host of skilled artisans and workingmen.

It means much for Knoxville. Being only twenty-two miles west of the city, on the main line of the East Tennessee road, it is virtually one of Knoxville’s suburbs. It will be  valuable addition to Knoxville’s trade. It will result in bringing a good many hundreds of thousands of dollars to Knoxville banks and Knoxville merchants and mechanics. Knoxville will have many reasons to rejoice at the good fortune and permanent prosperity of Lenoir City. The establishment of this immense manufacturing plant so near to our doors, will revive hope and encourage enterprise throughout the entire section.

We have said that Lenoir Cit is one of Knoxville’s suburbs. What has just been accomplished at Lenoir city is a valuable pointer to Knoxville. It shows that manufacturers of the north are beginning to appreciate the resources of this section. They begin to understand the value and the extent of our raw material, as found in our forests, mine, and quarries. And now the question comes up what will Knoxville do? There is a tide in the affairs of cities and communities as well as of men, that it taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Will Knoxville sit supinely by, in a state of calm expectancy, leisurely awaiting the tides? Will anything be done to induce capitalists to invest their money here and contribute to the growth of our splendidly situated city? If we are to remain in a state of chronic inaction, supremely satisfied with ourselves, laboring under the delusion that capital and population will drift this way whether invited or not, it may be that one of these fine mornings we may wake up to find that Knoxville is a suburb of Lenoir City.

It is unnecessary for THE JOURNAL to say who J. H. Bass is; he is one of the kings of the industrial world, the architect of his own fortune, that is counted by millions. His plants at Fort Wayne, Indiana, Chicago and St. Louis are well known all over the west and the country. He is a business man from the ground up, and no higher compliment could possibly be bestowed upon Lenoir City than he has paid it by locating the great establishment that will be completed and put in operation during this year. The future of the city is no longer in doubt. The plant which Mr. Bass will erect there will of itself constitute the sure foundation of a prosperous city. When in operation, as Mr. Bass’ plant will be at an early day, together with other establishments already located, Lenoir City will at once take rank with the foremost manufacturing communities south of the Ohio River.


3/12/1893: Floyd Nichols Loses Two Fingers in Sawmill Accident

July 4, 2018

From GenealogyBank: 3/12/1893, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume IV, Issue 15, Page 10.



Bright Prospects For the Summer’s Business.

LENOIR CITY, Tenn., March 11. — Floyd Nichols, an employee of the Crosby Lumber company, met with a serious accident on Monday last. He works in the shingle department and while thus employed had two fingers sawed off.

Prospects are quite bright for a busy summer for our little city. Every house is filled and still the demand comes for more. The Crosby Lumber company are working nearly one hundred men. The Car Wheel works and Car shops will break ground at an early date and they from the start, will necessarily employ a large force of men. Our greatest need is dwelling houses–already the city company have sold several pieces of fine property, which will be improved. Lenoir has attractions not only in a business point of view, but as a pleasant, healthy place to live. There has not been a death within the city limits within one year and three months. Several of the old inhabitants, who left two years ago, have returned to again take up their dwelling in our midst, claiming they saw no place as beautiful, healthful or as prosperous as Lenoir.

A number of Knoxville business men were here this week, mostly lumber men. This is fast becoming the lumber market for this section of East Tennessee. The Cosby Lumber company alone ships from five to ten cars of lumber daily. Their mill saws from forty to fifty thousand feet daily  and will double that capacity when the band mill starts.

Aspirants for office under the new administration are numerous, but all laying low and saying nothing. Jim Boggs is suppose to have the inside track on post office, and Henry Lenoir has a fine show for revenue collector for this district.

This county being strongly republican, and this district giving a republican victory last fall for the first time in its history, may be a point or two against office seekers under the new regime. To the victors belong the spoils.