Friday, May 30, 2014

An expansion

Whoa... I'm running way behind here today! It's been a really busy week, and it doesn't help that I have what I first thought was allergies but now believe is a great head cold. Ugh.

I was planning today to reveal the names we've chosen for the 6 garage kittens, but Courtney was here yesterday and helped me make them a new pen for a little more freedom in the garage, so I thought I'd show you that first. Nothing fancy, mind you, but here's what it looks like:


It should at least buy them a little more time before they have to head out into the big world outdoors.

That little box back in the corner is where they've been the last couple of weeks (upgraded awhile back from a smaller box). It was just getting too small for kittens that were learning to get around, but at least they couldn't crawl out of it. Here's a baby for size reference:


I cut them a little door:


And here's a little more size reference of their new space:


That green thing is a tree stand for hunting deer. It makes a great climbing course! I think it's heavy enough that it won't tip over. It's also fun to explore behind it:


Of course some litter box training is needed. Jess was sooo proud that her little Betty was the first one to use it! ;)


Okay, now to take your mind off litter box things, here are some cute closeups:




Her name is not Freckles, but maybe it should be with that nose! :)

They still snuggle together in the box to sleep, but you can see there's not much room left for Mama Rainbow to get in there and feed them:


They're loving their new space, although I'm sure they'll be ready for bigger and better very soon. I think Rainbow likes it, too, especially since she won't have to be cleaning up after them (if you know what I mean) so much now. She was great and kept the box spotless, though! She spends a lot of time outside these days. I have trouble remembering whether I let her in or out last!

Now to figure out how we're going to make that transition to outside and still keep them safe when the time comes.......

Thursday, May 29, 2014

News flash!

I had to do a second post today. Because...... look what I found this morning!


Isn't it amazing how cats can have such a mixture of colors in their litters?!

I love this sweet little face!


Courtney's coming again after school today (and then she'll only have a half day of school left tomorrow, so she'll be here full days on Tuesdays starting next week!), and I was going to wait till she got here so she could help me take pictures of these littles, but they're under a stock tank, and it was already getting hot in there from the sun shining on it and I figured they'd be scattered out in the long grass by this afternoon. So I went back out by myself with the camera. It was rather awkward trying to hold the tank off them and take pics at the same time, but at least the kittens were pretty cooperative.

I don't know who they belong to. It has to be either Patches or Dots. I'm leaning toward Patches, but we'll see.....

Birds

It seemed like it instantly turned to summer in one day. The birds all came back, and I have been thoroughly enjoying them. One day last week, just in the time I was at the table having my lunch, I saw five different kinds of birds on the deck - baltimore orioles, an orchard oriole, robins, chipping sparrow, and goldfinches. I had the camera at the ready next to me, and I managed to get photos of all of them except the orchard oriole who was too quickly chased off by a baltimore oriole.

The baltimore orioles seem to be extra-bright orange this year. Here are some random photos, some from that day, and some from later which look better because I'd washed the windows in between times. ;)


I snapped this next one just a split-second too late. :)


That was the male. Here's the female, wondering where he was flying off to, I guess.


The female again:


Kind of an awkward way to eat, if you ask me:


And the brilliant male once more:


Can you guess who's splashing in the birdbath below?


If you said robin, you're wrong. It was the tiny chipping sparrow. He was having a great time!


And finally, some goldfinches:


They don't care at what angle they eat, either.

I am sooo glad I put that birdbath out there. It really attracts. I hope I get to see (and get photos of) some unusual birds again this year... like last summer's blue grosbeak.

Update: I saw the blue grosbeak at the birdbath today (Friday). I'm so glad he came back! He left too soon for photos, though. I'll probably never get another as good as last year's, anyway. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In the teacup

I tossed out my gerbera daisies last fall, as they weren't looking too great anymore. Last Friday at the greenhouse, I discovered something I'd never seen before, so I decided to give them a try in the teacup pot.


They called dahliettas... just a small version of dahlias. They're only supposed to get to around 8" high. I've always loved dahlias, but if I remember right, because of their height they're kind of sensitive to the wind, which we have an abundance of around here, so I've never tried any. These may be just the perfect kind!


Aren't they pretty? I hope they do well in there!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Frog and Toad, and bunnies, and bumblebees, and......

Remember the bunny ears Courtney and I made awhile back? The big day came last Friday, and Courtney wore them in the play done by her first grade class, A Year With Frog and Toad. Heeeere's our bunny!




And here are Toad and Frog:


There were so many cute costumes! I thought this one was pretty ingenious, made by my neighbor for her grandson. I wouldn't have known where to begin to make a snail costume!


This snail was a mailman (snail mail, eh?). He was the fastest snail I've ever seen, zipping all over the place with his mail. Most pics of him were a blur. :)

"He's the snail with the mail.
He'll deliver without fail,
in the rain or sleet or snow.
No snail has feet more fleet-a,
why he's practically a cheetah.
He puts the 'go' in escargot!"

That he did, and he brought a lot of laughs from the audience. :)

I got some shots of the rest of the kids in their costumes:


Some of them are pretty recognizable, but I won't pretend to know what all of them are. :)


The kids all did a terrific job, and their teacher should be commended for bringing it all together!


Below are two videos with the kids performing the song "Cookies". Turn up your volume!

video

video


Monday, May 26, 2014

Purples

They made it! The lilacs! In time for Memorial Day! It was looking doubtful there, what with all the cold weather we've had, but they're beginning to open nicely now. They're not as full as some years, but at least they're there. Enjoy! (Wish I could post some of their fragrance, too!)




The irises aren't blooming yet. They're going to be VERY late. They don't even have buds yet. Update: As of Memorial Day morning, they DO now have buds! They popped out fast since I last looked on Saturday!

I have a new purple this year, though. I bought a couple of these plants on Friday. They're a type of osteospermum called "Lavender Bliss". Cool, huh?


Hope you're all having a great weekend. The weather has been stupendous here! Come back tomorrow and see my favorite little bunny in action! ;)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kitten update

Can't let you go a whole long weekend without a progress report on the babies, can I? :) Courtney and I took them outside for the first time on Tuesday. There was a lot of this:


And a LOT of this (2 videos):

video

video
(Sorry about the breeze hitting the mic!)

The best of the pics I got are below (click to enlarge). I didn't intentionally leave out the little white one, but pics of her kind of glared in the light. :)


The newer babies are doing fine so far. I don't like to disturb them too much, though, so no new pics.

Hope you all have a lovely, long weekend! I might be back before Tuesday, and I might not. It depends on what I find to photograph...... ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Triple Zip Pouch #6

I thought I'd take a picture of this project in the process, just for fun. If you saw this, could you imagine what it was going to turn into?


How 'bout from this side?


Well, here it is, all finished! It's a Triple Zip Pouch, my 6th one, in fact. (You can see the others here.) They're so fun (and addictive) to make!


The fabric is Jess's latest, Arrow. I love sewing on home decor weight fabric... except for one thing. Topstitching can easily get wonky because of the coarser weave. I was really disappointed in the topstitching on this pouch, as I think it's my worst ever. The two smaller pieces between the zips were printed a bit off-grain (which is pretty common in any fabric next to the selvage, but I don't know why), so I cut with the print, not the grain. The off-grain-ness made the stitching that much worse. Too bad you can't see the back side of those seams... they're perfectly straight! :) Oh, well....

Here's the back:


It's the perfect size for my rotary cutters and extra blades:


A little size comparison with my Gadget Guard iPad cover:


Very fun!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More of yesterday's action

I have more new babies! I was very surprised to find them already, because the mother is a first-timer, and she only recently started looking pregnant. I didn't think she'd be having them for some time yet. They're little, but doing well.


I took the above photo while Courtney was here, and it was pretty dark in there, so we couldn't see them very well except when the camera flashed. Then after downloading the photos to the computer last night, I noticed the top two kittens had some unusual markings. Their back halves looked gray! So this morning I took out a flashlight to see for sure, and yep... so I had to go back and get the camera again. Here they are (click to enlarge):


I found out that the odd gray marking is called a "fever coat". It means that the mother had a fever or an infection while pregnant, so the kittens with these markings were stressed in the womb. That's new to me. Have you ever heard of that before? The coat will eventually return to normal coloring. Shucks... I wanted them to stay that way. I wanted to have an "appaloosa" kitten! :)

Here's the mom, Miss BW (yah... I've never been very good at naming my cats!). She's looking a bit stressed herself about the photography session, but not terribly so. She didn't object to me handling her newborns.


I think she'll be a good mommy. Now just so we don't have tomcat problems again.

Yesterday

It seem summer arrived suddenly yesterday! It was beautiful and although mostly cloudy, it got up to 82°!

Courtney arrived, too, and it was a terrific day for this...

(Click to enlarge.)

... as well as a lot of other things. Lots more photos later.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Naughty kitty!

Look at this:


Bet you can't guess what happened. Last Friday I bought a few peaches, the first of the season here. I'd left them in an open bag on the counter to ripen a bit more. Later I went to the basement, and while I was down there, I heard a loud 'thump' upstairs. I knew that meant that Annabelle had gotten into something, as she LOVES to do as soon as I'm out of sight. I went back upstairs, and sure enough, she'd gotten one of the peaches out of the bag and rolled it onto the floor. Thank goodness it was unripe enough that it didn't make a big splat. In fact, it was so hard that it didn't show any damage at all.

After that, I didn't dare leave the bag open, so I closed it with a twist tie, thinking she wouldn't push the whole bag onto the floor. I was right... she didn't. HOWEVER, what she did do yesterday afternoon was chew into EVERY peach 'through' the bag!!! I couldn't believe it! What a brat!


So every peach was damaged. But the good news is that she didn't bite clear through the bag. In other words, her teeth didn't touch the peaches. Messy though they were, Grandpa and I each ate one for supper, and they were really quite delicious! The rest are now safe in the fridge.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Amaryllis update

In full bloom... gorgeous, yes?