Sunday, July 29, 2012

OTIS 2006 - 2012

A bit of sad news, Otis has died.  It wasn't a long life, and not nearly as long as we had hoped but it was more than he was originally slated for. He was an orange cat, a redhead, a loving cat who could barely stand to be touched. Recently I had taken to yelling out the window at night when I was trying to get him to come in for the evening, "OTIS!! IT'S NIGHT TIME! YOU ARE NOT A FERAL CAT!!!! YOU LIVE HERE!! YOU HAVE A HOME!!!"  He just wasn't sure. He was and he wasn't.

We had come across him in 2006 when we were checked out a new place we thought might be good for hiking (it wasn't). On the way back Omar flushed the tiniest little scrap of fur out of the underbrush. Covered in ticks and starving to death but still feisty and opinionated. Picking him up was like handling a handful of feathers, there just wasn't anything there but a little fur and some tiny bones.

We removed the ticks and fed him bits of food until we were sure he could keep things down then started the slow process of getting some weight on him. We thought it best to keep him isolated at first but I worried that he was lonely so I would go sleep in the guest room with him. He was so light that he could walk the length of me arriving as a warm bit of purr tucking up under my chin with a sigh of relief that someone loved him and I would never even feel him until my chin tickled. I would check him several times a day hoping for a sign that he was getting a bit heavier, my heart was so sad, I worried so then finally, a bit of fat between the fur and bone. He grew!

As he filled out he was let into the rest of the house where he fell in love with Omar. Omar wasn't sure about this little thing glued to his side winding his way around and under him. Since Otis hadn't been weaned - we estimated his age to be four weeks since his eye color changed from blue to orange over the coming week - he decided that Omar's ears were for nursing on. Poor Omar, he looked very silly with wet ear fur sucked up into tuffs.

Otis eventually reached 10.5 lbs, a decent size for a cat but he never got over his terror. He preferred to be outside most of the time and would run away even if you passed nearby. At night, when he came in, he would gather up his courage and climb up in my lap for a cuddle until he couldn't stand to be touched anymore. Nearby was good but not touching. Lately he took to staying out overnight where we would find him sleeping on the front porch in a basket we put out. In for a bit of breakfast then back out again.

Last year he developed a problem with his hips though the vet couldn't find anything wrong. He had problems with jumping more than a short distance then landing with a little Omph! of pain and effort. He walked like he hurt all the time. He spent his days sleeping in quiet corners of the garden enjoying the shade and the heat. Then a few nights ago he didn't come in and he wasn't in his basket the next morning. Or in the afternoon.

We'll never know what happened in the end; just that he's gone.

He will be missed our funny redheaded cat.

Monday, July 23, 2012



Rudbeckia, which look like little sunflowers but are not related.

Sunflower (Helianthus) 

Rudbeckia (Asteraceae)

Click for a larger view.

Knitting. Always challenging. I zoomed along So Very Pleased With Myself. I did the front and back and one sleeve. I washed and blocked. I thought, "Hmmmm, the front looks shorter than the back..."  "Optical Illusion because of the neck!" Yeah, that's the ticket. I seamed the sucker up. The sleeve would not fit. I poked, I prodded. I pondered.

I noticed.  I had forgotten to do the six rows of garter stitch that starts the cable section off.


Good news. Learning (something) from past experience I had not woven my ends in so unseaming was a snap.

Start again, Earin. 

And finally, Opie, he who cannot resist a box. This one was from our Chinese takeout. And a tasty, if somewhat furry treat he is.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I've been enjoy the light and texture in the garden lately. Banana leaves back lit are so gorgeous and then there are the canna, especially the purple and green striped one.


The light and texture continues with some of the firewood we've acquired recently. Winter is never that far away.


Then the beauty and texture of a small cat enjoying a roll in the dirt and enjoying the heat. At least someone is enjoying it (and it certainly isn't me).

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


I love this photograph. First off, it's of Sharon, a dear friend. We go all the way back to college which was, well, some time ago. (I will point out though that I am 8 years older than Sharon having gone back to college in my mid 20's for the second time.)

I like to joke that I'm on the trailing edge of technology. I'm probably a lot better than that but then again I tend to pick and choose what I need to know and rely on my computer savvy husband to figure out the rest for me (hey, I can cook, he can't - we all have our skills).

Sharon is spending time with her ailing mother back in Tenn. so we have started using Facetime to talk to each other. It is working out very well and I feel gives a better connection than just talking on the phone.

So, take a close look at the photo. I've got an ipod Touch, basically, an iphone without the phone.  The best place I've found to "talk" is in my sewing room sitting in front of my sewing machine. The chair is good, the light is excellent. I can close doors on the animals and not end up talking with a fluffy tail or five swishing in front of my face.

The question was: how to set up the Touch so I could sit and talk plus wave my arms around. I'm an arm and hand waver. I can barely talk otherwise.

What I came up with was:

1. One of two very old bookends (It's an old sailing ship motif) for the Touch to lean against.

2. The pencil is being held in place by two pieces of tape. (I can see that I should have reversed 2 and 3 but I'm only moving forward here.)

3. I'm using a blue marking pencil to keep the Touch from sliding forward.

4. It's on top of Lily, my sewing machine.

Technology. You take what you need from it.


Old technology with touches of new.


I recently spent nearly a week in CactusLand visiting The Enabler and the both of us attending the 20th anniversary of the sew-in we've attended for the last several years. I gifted my pink Alaria shawl to Leslie, She Who Runs the Whole Shebang With Grace, Wit, and a Lightly Held Whip (I mean this as a compliment Leslie).

This is going to likely be the last sew-in for both The Enabler and myself since she is moving. Even though I only see the other sewers once a year for a few days it was rather hard to say goodbye. They are darn good people.

To continue resting my aching brain I have been knitting a gansey for children. Soothing. Easy. Able to watch Wimbledon without cursing.  I have a big ball of leftover Fleece Artist Scotian Silk (sadly discontinued) and am hoping very hard that I have enough yarn because honey, there ain't no more to be found.

The Enabler graced me yet another of her wonderful creations. This one from her Mermaid series. We likes it a lot.


Like all sew-ins I never get as much done as I had planned nor does it goes quite as smoothly as expected. Too many things to distract me, we are over 70 in number after all, a sewing machine that is not mine...blah, blah, blah. I did get another draped cowl top done along with a pair of shorts and a Sobretto top without the pleat.

There was an extra class the day before the sew-in started on making a bag. I think I was the only person who didn't finish but I will. HONEST!!It was a good class, a fun class. I will finish and I will make the bag up again. It's a good size to carry knitting in too.


Despite having deer leaping gracefully over our fence we're doing okay though the day lilies may disagree and the roses are little more than sticks. Hubby has spent a lot of time and effort improving things (the problem seems to be mostly the gate areas).

Pots on the front steps with coleus, begonias, and lamium. A couple of petunias for two hanging baskets that need perking up.

Clematis with a small Japanese maple to the right.

Geraniums coming back from being cropped by hungry critters.

On the veggie front we would have had beans by now but....  There are plenty more growing like mad so it won't be long now. There are lots of yellow zukes coming ripe. Somehow I put in four or five plants. I was to stunned to count and yes, I may need some intervention. One plant is more than several families need.

The tomatoes were cropped but they're coming back so one of these days we'll have ripe tomatoes. We got one cucumber before the deer got to them. I think they will survive but I may not have enough to make pickles this year.

Have a Happy 4th everyone. Remember to watch fireworks and eat more than you should. It's a special day.

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