Posts Tagged ‘Sylvia’

Magical doorways

September 9, 2009
Magical doorway to the food

Magical doorway to the food

Crazy Cat Woman Linda has concerns about how the cats get to the food at the cat station since the station itself is surrounded by a fence.  Fencing examples are here – https://ruthrawls.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/its-like-beating-a-dead-horse/

I assured her that there are openings at ground level around the perimeter of the fence where cats can come and go.  LOTS of openings.  The cats do not polevault over the fence nor boost each other over, RobinHoodAndHis MerryMen Style.  Although that would be fun to watch.

Cats welcome.  Dogs, not so much.

Cats welcome. Dogs, not so much.

I wonder if I could teach Sylvia to polevault.  She’s pretty clever.

Triple wide for the Plus Sizes

Triple wide for the Plus Sizes

All the openings are next to a post for extra strength and support rather than along a stretch of fencing.  You can see from the hair caught on the fencing that the cats prefer some openings more than others.  There are probably six or eights openings around the perimeter of the fence so I will save you the tedium of looking at all of them. 

Sylvia:  "Pole vault this."

Sylvia: "Pole vault this."

Sylvia’s Pine Tree

September 5, 2009
What's the deal?

What's the deal?

Here’s Sylvia’s pine tree.  When we go to the cat station, she always stops at this one tree and sits next to it.

Somebody explain the attraction to me

Somebody explain the attraction to me

She has worn a bare spot on the forest floor.  The pine straw is thick underfoot, but this particular spot against the tree has no pine needles.  She stops here.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Someone needs to explain this to me.  Sometimes she even leans against the tree.

Apparently she knows what she’s doing, and she’s not going to let the rest of us in on it.

Enjoying the room

Enjoying the afternoon

Mr. Packett looks for a sign

August 28, 2009
What to do

What to do

Packett looks confused.  Yes, I know he looks that way a lot.  But he looks extra confused, like he is waiting for a sign to tell him which way to go.  There is a sign in the picture above, but he doesn’t see it.

A sign

A sign

That’s it!  He’s at a fork in the road!  And it points in the direction he must go!

Sylvia: "Who is he kidding?  He doesn't even have opposable thumbs."

Sylvia: "Who is he kidding? He doesn't even have opposable thumbs."

Back in the saddle again

August 23, 2009

I’m back in school on Saturdays as of yesterday, August 22, 2009.  My morning class from 8:30-12 is called International Business.  The textbook is “International Management: Managing Across Borders and Cultures”.  Seems okay so far.  The afternoon class from 1-4:30 is Human Resource Management using the textbook “Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage”.  I hate it.  It’s a very corporate class with a very corporate instructor who dimmed the lights and spent the entire class time reading a power-point presentation to us.  There were two handout sheets.  One sheet was “HRM (that’s Human Resource Management for the uninformed) Test Items” with 35 items.  The other had “Major Issues” and “HR Functions”.  I think I might die during a future class and no one will notice because they will all be asleep.  In the dark.

Dying would be bad.  Who will feed me?

Georgia: "Dying would be bad. Who will feed me?"

Is Georgia talking about herself again?

Sylvia: "Is Georgia talking about herself again?"

What am I, chopped liver?

Cali: "What am I, chopped liver?"

Maybe I should just go back to sleep like Sylvia...

Cali: "Maybe I should just go back to sleep like Sylvia..."

Georgia: "You love Sylvia more than me."  Sylvia: "Did somebody pass gas?"

Georgia: "You love Sylvia more than me." Sylvia: "Did somebody pass gas?"

Whoever smelt it...

Georgia: "Whoever smelt it..."

Georgia: "I wish my handsome prince would hurry."  Sylvia:  "Shut up."

Georgia: "I wish my handsome prince would hurry." Sylvia: "Shut. Up."

Once Upon A Time

August 21, 2009

Once upon a time there were two little feral calico cats who were trapped, spayed and vaccinated, and released in a safe location in my woods.  Sounds pretty simple.  Here are more of the facts between trapping and releasing.

Head 'em up, move 'em out

Head 'em up, move 'em out

They were trapped right before Christmas 2007.  My plan was to get them to the local spay neuter clinic, but the clinic had no appointments left before Christmas and were going to be closed from Christmas into the first of the year.  So these wild little cats lived in this crate in my garage until they could be spayed.  After they were spayed, they went back to the crate in the garage in order to recuperate for two weeks before releasing.  Six weeks is a long time to live in a crate.  And I’m scared of feral cats.  They do not play.

Crate in the van on the way to a new planet

Crate in the van on the way to a new planet

Then Sugar and I transported them in their crate to the new location at my property, covered them with a tarp for overnight protection, and released them the next day.
What's happening?

What's happening?

The day before release

The day before release

On the day of release, we transported an old desk to the woods and patched together a feeding station. 
Sugar's van full of important stuff in my driveway when I lived in a house

Sugar's van full of important stuff in my driveway when I lived in a house

Notice the Golden Ride RV parked in my driveway IN A SUBDIVISION.  I have no shame. 

We found later that the local dogs and wildlife were eating the food, so Sugar made a fence around the station with openings in the fence for the cats to come and go.  It keeps the dogs out, and my theory is, if the wildlife like possums and raccoons are hungry, they can eat here too.

The local diner

The local diner

The dog house on top of the desk has a soft blankie in it for a kitty to take a nap.  There’s a fact we learned:  feral cats are kick-ass kids and would not sleep in such an exposed situation.  We didn’t have an automatic feeder so we piled some dry food on a plastic plate.  We found that this is just simply not enough food, and that the plate ended up on the ground or even carried away.
Eventually I dismantled the desk, kung-fu style.  It was made of laminated fiberboard, and the rain and dampness over time had caused the desk to become sway-backed and weak.  It does me good to displace some aggression.
I had an abundance of boards left over from the shed construction.  Sugar took them and constructed an open-air protected feeding station. 
Stinky is hungry.  Where's the food?

Stinky is hungry. Where's the food?

Sugar is a good sport

Sugar is a good sport

The process of construction and destruction look much the same

The process of construction and destruction look much the same

The building inspector stopped by.  (It's really Sylvia.)

The building inspector stopped by. (It's really Sylvia.)

The inspector looks for her bribe

The inspector looks for her bribe

I have to say that the feral cat project has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  And I’ve had lots of help, as you can see.  Sugar and Sylvia are always at the ready. 
The very first feeding station in the morning sun on the day of the first release

The very first feeding station in the morning sun on the day of the first release

This is a favorite picture of mine.  The sun was in the east that winter morning.  I paused to take this picture, the culmination of the liberation of these two little cats.  It was a day of promise, even though we didn’t know if this crazy cat project was going to work.  Catkin and Catnip were the first of many cats to be released.  This simple station became more refined and efficient.  We added a fence.  We replaced bowls with automatic feeding and watering systems.  We added shelters in the woods.  We built stronger, more protected feeding stations.  It’s been a great time.

Excitement at the Swamped! Plantation

August 18, 2009
Mr. Packett & Mr. Aureus

Mr. Packett & Mr. Aureus

It’s an exciting, picture-participation evening at the Swamped! Plantation.  In the evenings after work, I go thru the side gate to check on things at the cat station.  Whenever I head for the side gate, Sylvia stops whatever she’s doing and gallops like a horse thru the meadow to join me.  She has a particular stop at the base of a pine tree that she always chooses.  She lies down next to the pine, and has done this so often that she has made a bare spot in the pine needles covering the forest floor next to this specific pine.  Curious.

This evening I took a walk thru the woods, camera in hand.  Some of the feral cats were out and about, but were too quick in hiding for me to take their picture.  As Sylvia and I ventured further out, she found a patch of sunshine in the evening forest. 

Sylvia found a patch of sunshine in the woods

Sylvia found a patch of sunshine in the woods

When we returned from our perimeter patrol thru the woods, the dogs met us, as usual, at the gate.  Packett always gets very excited like a child when we return, like we have been gone forever and have returned with candy.  He plays a game, inviting me to chase.  He drops down into a play pose, waggling his hind end and tail in the air, and then shoots around in circles in the meadow. 
A carousel dog in search of a merry-go-round

A carousel dog in search of a merry-go-round

 Packett is the goofiest dog ever.  He has such a sweet spirit, and he has the simplest of needs.  I picked him up off the street about 4 years ago, an emaciated skeleton weighing 17 pounds.  Today he weighs about 50 pounds, on the same frame as when I got him.

You wanna?

You wanna?

He runs around the meadow, every time as if it were the first, most exciting run of his life.  Usually he does not step on the other animals, and they have learned to get out of his way.  See Wilbur in the background?
Who was that masked dog?

Who was that masked dog?

It was a beautiful evening.  I still wonder if I could get a goat?  Would a goat play with Packett?

The patriarch that started it all

The patriarch that started it all

Mr. Aureus is 10 years old.  He is the coolest, most laid-back dog ever.  I’ve never even heard him growl, although he will moan when he is annoyed.  He’s been a good and faithful friend.

Knittin’ and sittin’ on Resurrection

July 20, 2009
Sylvia pauses during her workday

Sylvia pauses during her workday

Sometimes I’m knittin’.  And sometimes I’m sittin’.  But anytime I’m home, I’m on Resurrection Road.  I’ve never seen a roadway of any kind named Resurrection, and it’s a little bit unnerving to live on such an unusual road name.  What could have possessed the powers that be to name a road Resurrection?

I’ve lived here about a year.  It’s quiet, most of the time, and it’s remote.  There are lots of trees here, and some wildlife.    I own a small plot of land, rectangular in shape, about an acre and a half that is fronted with roads on three sides.  If you were to draw the lot on paper, the rectangle is lying on its side, with the west and south sides bordered by Resurrection.  The east side is bordered by another road, which is the main road.  My entire lot is wooded with pines, sweet gums, maples, and wax myrtles, and the ground is thick with the leaf debris of many years.  My sandy driveway slips between two towering pines, and ends in a clearing in the woods where I live.  My life is very simple.  I live in a twenty-five-year-old RV.  It’s the driveable kind, called a Class A, and it’s actually driveable.  But I don’t drive it anywhere.  It sits, along with me, here on Resurrection.

Need Resurrection?

I chose to come here to live in July 2008.  I’ve owned the land since July 2007, and have been gradually developing it with the intent to build someday.    But for now, I basically have everything I need.  Electricity and water?  Check.  Bed?  Check.  Table and chair?  Check.  Refrigerator and microwave?  Check.  I gave away most of my belongings.  An RV comes with most everything you need.  I have peace and quiet, simplicity, and room to breathe. 

The eastern third of the lot is fenced in.  Outside the fenced area, I established a feral cat colony in the woods.  Sylvia, the formal feral cat, decided not to live in the woods, but chose to slip inside the fenced area by sliding between the gate and the gatepost.  She’s a funny little cat, petite and slim but a relentless watcher of wildlife, like butterflies and falling leaves. 

The last year has been an interesting journey.  The next year promises to be just as interesting.