Archive for the ‘Swamped! Plantation’ Category

Name That Bird

March 31, 2017

My grandmother liked birds. She had a bird feeder that was nothing more than a thin scrap of board nailed onto the top of a  fence post. She put food scraps there for her birds. I suspect she might have not cleaned her plate so that she would have something left for the birds. 

She did not like cats because they scared her birds away. I suppose the cats were hungry, too, and not just for food scraps. 

Sometimes, in the early dark of morning, I hear a bird call. I don’t know anything about the calls of birds, and when I try to describe the call to Sugar, he doesn’t know either. 

So one morning at dark-thirty, I recorded a bird call. And then a second bird called, and I recorded that, too. 

Try to ignore the sounds of cats knocking things off the nightstand and scratching. We already know how to identify those sounds in the dark. At least no one coughed up a hairball. 


I asked for help from my online friends. My cousin, a scientist birder, said that both were cardinals. 

Cardinals, really? How embarrassing that I don’t even know the call of this most basic of birds. Sugar had asked me what the bird making the call looked like, but I couldn’t say. It was dark out. 


Another friend got her husband to listen to the audio, which amused me. People are listening to my little cardinal friends online. Her husband said that my bird call was slower than most, and that birds can have regional calls. 

Well, of course it is slower. This is the sLowcountry.   

Cats in the Pines: Sugar Makes a Space Station

February 25, 2017

I have been wanting another cat feeding station. The old one in the woods has become dilapidated, almost beyond repair, but more importantly, the wild cats have decided to come inside the fencing and eat at the feeding station on the picnic table. 

Several of the cats have taken to living in the woods next to the driveway. Since I’m feeding cats there now anyway, a feeding platform would be handy. I imagined if I had a platform between two of the pines, then the food and cats wouldn’t be as exposed to ants and stray dogs. 

I explained my plan to Sugar. 

I was driving along one day when I saw a children’s play set, the kind with the ladder to the slide, and the horizontal ladder for children to go across hand over hand. 

What about a horizontal ladder structure connecting the two pines?

I explained I need a ladder between the two pines. He thought I meant a ladder from the ground to a tree. It was getting frustrating: me explaining and him not getting it. The word “ladder” was throwing him off. 

So I drew my example. 


He contrived a ladder from some old 2 x 4s that he split lengthwise. 

A Chinese Fringe shrub provided local color. 




He added a piece of plywood for the dining surface. 

Suddenly it is finished. The Butter demonstrates that form follows function. 


The Butter has some neurological problems which cause him to have a head tilt and a stare that is a bit unordinary. 





The new station is too high for dogs but not for cats. This does not discount a clever, hungry dog. 


Mr. Friendly demonstrates that canned food is welcome here. We will probably add some side rails to keep the dishes from being pushed off. You can see that we have already removed the metal bowl in favor of a dish with a flatter, heavier base. 

In other news, I am worried that I might have a marauding owl. Before the station was built, one morning during the dawn hours, I found Wendy deceased on the driveway. I had arrived home the night before that in the dark, and I fed her by the gate as usual. When I found her body the next morning, some bird high in the trees was screaming at me. Apparently I disturbed his actions. He was very angry at me, and I messaged my cousin the birder scientist. It’s possible that it was a hawk, and I learned the word “crepuscular”. 

Sugar buried her for me where she lived in the woods by the driveway. 

Cats like vertical spaces, and I’m hoping the new space station will give them safer options. 

A Cat Named Georgia 

February 11, 2017

Georgia lives here at the Swamped! Plantation. 

She decided to plonk herself on me because she wanted a nap. 

That’s how it is with Georgia. She only does what she wants, and she doesn’t care who she needs to walk on to get it. 

In this case, she made for some good close-ups. 


Georgia has lived here longer than any of the other cats. She arrived with some neighbors when they moved down the road with their *twelve* cats. It had turned into an unintentional hoarding situation when some strays adopted them, and nobody had the money for spay/neuter. I took in Georgia and her sister, and found homes for 2 kittens, after I had them all vaccinated and spayed. (That was back in the day when I had a much larger disposable income.)

Georgia has a direct personality and she is exceptionally nosy. If you come to visit and leave your car windows open, she will go home with you. 

She has always been brought back. 

Because the photo below? Is also the face of Georgia. 

The Cat on the Picnic Table

June 2, 2016

A new cat was lounging on the picnic table a few weeks ago. I had seen him at a distance before, but on this particular evening, he had made himself at home on the picnic table feeding station. 

When I got a little closer, I saw that where his right eye should have been, there was nothing but a squinted-closed eye. And a little closer, it looked like maybe his eye had been damaged or was missing. There was a dark spot where his eye should have been. No blood, but no eye, either. 

  
He didn’t bolt away when he saw me, so that was an improvement. Before, he had kept himself protected from my view by keeping barriers between himself and me, like hiding behind trees or staying outside the fence. 

*****

Today, during the evening time when the air is cooling down and the mosquitoes are out, he was lying flat on his side on top of the table. I hoped he wasn’t dead. I approached the table from behind him, and chirruped a welcome. He raised his head, looked at me and meowed. Then he stood up and walked toward me, still on the picnic table, and raised his tail in the air. If you have spent time with cats, or read this blog for more than 15 minutes, you’ll know that a tail in the air is a good thing. 

He let me scritch the top of his head. I opened a large can of food for him, and while he ate, I was able to scritch him on the back. I was able to confirm that he was a boy. His head, face, and shoulders were covered with wounds and scars, old and new. That eye was missing, but I couldn’t be sure if it was because of a wound or a birth defect. 

I supposed that he would become the third one-eyed cat here at the Swamped! Plantation and Cat-Scritching Facility. 

Next stop: catching and testing. Please let him be negative. 

Kittens of Spring

March 23, 2016

It’s too cold for kittens. We had a cold snap a few nights ago. 

A woman called me because she was monitoring a nest of kittens born to a feral mother, and suddenly, the morning after the cold night, the kits weren’t moving. 

They were basically so cold that the thermometer could not get a reading. Today, they are on soft bedding in a crate on a heating pad. They have been fed and rehydrated and dewormed and de-fleaed. Which is not a word except in my world. 

  
If you would like to donate a dollar or two, there’s a “Hep a Kitten Out” button on the main page. 

Or just send happy thoughts our way!

Gratuitous Kitten Photo

January 8, 2016

 

Ahhh. Dora Belle.

 
Adorable. 

Here a Kit, There a Kit, Everywhere a Kit Kit

December 7, 2015

Sometimes I write about dead people and the convoluted connections. It looks like cats are becoming convoluted, too.

Back in the spring I got a text from someone asking if I could go to the Wendy’s and pick up a cat in the parking lot. It seemed that a nice cat was living there.

Now, the best place for a cat is not a parking lot of a fast-food place. I can understand that cats like the dumpster scenario, because once I took in 3 cats from a McDonald’s that were feeding from the dumpsters.

I drove on over but never saw the cat. I would have thought that someone was pulling my leg, except the report, along with a photo, came from a reputable person. I parked and got out and walked the entire place, even checking out the Burger King next door and the gas station past that.

Nothing.

I never saw a cat around. It was like an urban legend.

Three weeks ago I saw the cat.

I was pulling into the Wendy’s, and there he was brushing up against a van, oblivious to the traffic. I just so happened to have canned food and a trap in the car. There was nowhere to park, when a spot opened magically as if on cue when a car backed out in front of me, three spaces away from the cat.

I popped a can, walked up to him, put the can on the ground and wiggled my fingers at him. He didn’t make a move, so I tickled the top of his head and a ruffed him hard.

He went limp, as limp as death, and I walked back to my car with an open can of cat food in one hand and a swinging limp cat in the other.

Somehow I managed to open the hatch and open the trap and stuff him in. I didn’t dare look at the restaurant because I want to make eye contact with any patrons who might be staring out the window, mouthing Killer Catcatching Crazy.

The cat was not happy about being in the trap, but I drove on through the drive-thru ’cause a girl’s gotta eat.

Back at work, we made a plan to fix him.


  
Really, it was too late in the day to add on another surgery, so we made a plan for the relief vet to surgically alter the kit on the following day.

*****

The next day, the relief vet took one look and said…

She’s a Cali-point. Like a Siamese is a seal-point, this little mix is part-Siamese, part-alley at, the second part being calico which is generally a female.

After surgery, I took her home to recuperate. After a week, I released her, not sure if I’d see her again. After all, most releases I never see again or only from a distance. Maybe she’d head back to the Wendy’s.


Nope. She lives here now.

Mr. Friendly

November 4, 2015

Mr. Friendly moved in here at the a Swamped! Plantation this past summer. He’s very friendly and quite comfortable here, and doesn’t seem to miss his testicles at all. 

Sometimes when I arrive home, I sit in Ole Yeller in the driveway and check messages and what-not. 

Apparently I didn’t get out of the car fast enough. Mr. Friendly is just that. 

  
  
He is so friendly that I tried adopting him out. They returned him because they said he wasn’t being nice to the resident dog. That completely baffles me. He’s so nice. He’s so Friendly. 

Maybe they kept him inside, which is good, but he wanted to be outside spreading around his Friendly-ness. 

Who knows with a cat? He’s not talking. 

Frankly Ferals

October 6, 2015

I thought I had gotten them all. 

  
How could there be room for more? Clearly now a rhetorical question. 

A tree fell down by the front gate a few years ago. It’s not bothering anything, so I’m letting it stay as it is and return to the earth. 

Mr. RedAndWhite decided to live there like a fairytale creature. 

   
    
 This year no cats climbed over the fence to live here at the Swamped! Plantation and Neutering Service. Because they have decided to live outside the fence. 

I’ve had my eye on this red fellow for some months. I wanted to trap him, but a crazy woman in Savannah kept my trap. 

Sometimes in the night I would hear cat screams. But who could be fighting? Everyone was accounted for. 

Sugar had a trap that I could borrow. Plus a lady offered the use of one of hers, which evened the odds because Mr. GrayAndWhite showed up. 

  
I set both traps one night, and after releasing probably six of my cats who thought they were scoring a tasty treat, I had success. 

   
    
 I caught Mr. GrayAndWhite. Mr. RedAndWhite was too clever. 

Mr. GrayAndWhite had a nasty puncture wound at the inside corner of his left eye that went into his sinuses. The debate was made to neuter or euthanize. Life won, and he was altered, vaccinated, and injected with a long-acting antibiotic. 

When I released him back at the front gate, he headed along the log highway, where he was met by the toll master. 

   
    

Looking back and unable to pay the toll

   
I began to believe that the last cat would continue to outwit me. 

Then the stars and the planets moved into the proper alignment, aided by the pull of the supermoon, and me standing on my head spitting wooden nickels. 

   
   
The absence of male hormones will perhaps take the fighting down a notch. 

I plan to sleep well tonight. 

The Fan & Feather

September 27, 2015

It’s a knitting design that you might see from years ago. It looks tricky as all get-out, but there’s only one pattern row in 4 rows of knitting.

Overall, there’s a scalloped edge that’s created by the pattern. It’s a natural feature and can’t be changed. Which now makes me wonder if there’s a short-row method where you start with a straight edge and work in the scallops. I think it will take someone smarter than me with fewer irons in the fire to figure it out.

Anyway, the pattern is worked in sets of 30. Let’s start with one pattern repeat for practice. Cast on 30 on straight needles.  Knit the first row. Turn your work and purl the second row. The third row is the pattern row made by purling two stitches together five times (thereby reducing 10 stitches to 5), then knitting one and throwing a yarn over ten times (thereby turning 10 into 20), and purling two together on the remaining 10 stitches (reducing 10 stitches to 5). For the fourth row, you will purl across.

That’s it. A lovely design created with 4 rows.

You will need to steam block this, so remove the cats from the bed and spread out your finished afghan.

Maybe that last part is just me.


After blockage, I cut pieces of yarn that were approximately 7″ long. I cut them from another skein that was variegated with white, pink, and baby blue. I threaded each length through an end stitch and tied an overhand knot so little hands can’t pull it out and eat it.

The afghan is baby blue but the iPhone changes the color sometimes and won’t allow editing to the correct color. (Insert your imagination here.)

I folded it in thirds lengthwise and put on a hanger and hung it in a wax myrtle for photos.


  
  
  

I think I used a size 9 circular and acrylic worsted. I believe I casted on 180 stitches. You can use any size that makes your heart happy. Happy knitting!