The 2020 shitshow has extended to my tomato plants. My harvest is deeply underwhelming. I ate my first ones this past week. In September. Everyone else is getting tomatoes at the end of July. I get them in September.
Also – small. Very small. All three plants. And I don’t think it’s just the fact that I’m in a race with the bastard squirrel to harvest them, so I tend to pick as soon as they show any sign of changing color rather than leaving them on the plant to ripen – which would be ideal. I’ve only got 3 tomatoes of normal size. Most are slightly bigger than a cherry when they turn red. Some are cherry size. None are beefsteak size.
The plants seemed to thrive, despite being in a less than ideal sun location. Of the three plants, the volunteer definitely did the best. And honestly has amazeball tasting tomatoes. It’s too bad I don’t know what it is. But I will be saving seed. But even though the plants grew and seem healthy, I think it’s the lack of sufficient sun that is making the harvest so weak.
Despite all of that, I am honestly delighted in my misfits. Eating tomatoes you grow yourself is lovely. They did not live up to my dreams of their harvest, but I have a long record of dreaming one thing and experiencing another, so – not really surprising.
Ferguson Cat, aka FC, relaxed right into being an indoor cat. I’m so grateful that he isn’t miserable about being locked in. I kept him and my existing cats separated for 2 days and then I opened the door. It was vastly under dramatic. I have no idea why I have not done this with every cat melding.
I mean they didn’t get into any kind screaming hissing face offs. They stared at each other from a distance, eventually met close enough for sniffs. If they were caught off guard, there was a small hiss and retreat, but not anything angry or warlike.
We went to the vet yesterday. He was dewormed, given some vaccines and chipped. I expected him to fight that – but nope. He took all the indignities with a stoic calm.
He has looked over the outside balcony with an eye for jumping but responded immediately when I called him back. I think he knows full well that life is much better inside than outside.
My life has been dragging along. My depression has creeped into the old corners and I’m just dragging about out of necessity. I would prefer to just curl up in a ball and sink to the bottom. Which is an odd thing. Why would I want to just get worse? That’s the crazy part of the depression. It makes you want to feed it instead of fight it. Even while your logical brain knows it’s not a wise plan to do things that will make you even more miserable than you already are. But I have structure in my life now, so I drag about and go to work and feed cats and take walks and keep going.
One of the biggest miseries in my life is relatively new. Loneliness. I’ve always been a loner, but with plenty of friends. I never felt lonely or extremely rarely until I became homeless. Or more specifically until it became clear to me that one of the mental platforms of my personal identity didn’t actually exist. I thought I was deeply connected to my family. That family meant I was never really alone. But actually – no. When my mother died – the connection died. Because my sisters are married and have families of their own. I never married or had kids – so they did not feel the same connection to me as they had their own lives. That was when loneliness arrived. It’s a terrible feeling and I wish deeply to go back to the place where being alone was just fine and enjoyable. The loneliness is much worse when the depression is mobbing my brain.
But. But. Then there are cats. I do not exaggerate when I say that cats are the reason I have not exited this life. They provide a warm and loving companionship. They give me an obligation to do that makes getting up and moving necessary.
And I now have another cat. Or more precisely FC has moved inside. Yesterday I snatched him up, and won a close struggle and now he is inside. Amazingly, he didn’t hide at all. He just complained in the song of his people for many hours. It turns out, he likes to be pet. He no longer minds being picked up – a thing no one would have predicted after seeing his struggle on the way in.
This is where a picture of FC would go except I can’t find that option anymore because wordpress new and unimproved itself.
And he destroyed the window blind. Yeah. He sits on the window sill, but last night I put the blind down, because I’m not fond of the world seeing into my apartment at night. At first he was fine with that. But at some point while I was asleep he decided he wanted to be on the window sill and even tiny cats will break a shitty window blind. And he did. Very thoroughly. Between him and Tim I will not be getting my deposit back. Tim has ruined the carpet in the bedroom by pulling out the yarns. Apparently that is fun?
Anyway. FC is in. Tim and Bijou are locked in the bedroom and FC has the rest of the apartment. Maybe this afternoon or evening I will bring one of them out to meet FC. I want them to get along – and I’m not sure how long stretch this separation to make the meet and greet easiest. We’ll see.
In what can only be called stupid talking about stupid – there is quite a large bit of babbling happening on the internet about people who won’t mask. I have a theory. And since this is the internet, I’m gonna tell it to you.
I think there is a direct connection between people condemning and screaming about non-mask wearers on social media and people deciding that wearing a mask is somehow optional and/or an infringement on their rights.
In the olden days of my long gone youth – we learned about things from a very serious and trustworthy person named Walter Cronkite. He was a news anchor on the TV. We trusted him. If he got on TV and told us that masks were required to protect us, we would wear masks. Because no one else was telling us there was another option.
Or more precisely, no one we would listen to was telling us anything else. There were always lunatics on corners screaming about conspiracy theories, but everyone fully understood they were loons and we were not making any decisions based on their ranting.
These days everyone is talking all the time – telling you things. It’s a constant gossip garbage festival. Now I have not met anyone who refuses to wear a mask. But I have seen dozens and dozens of people condemning them on social media. I’ve seen news outlets reporting on what people say on social media. Because that is where we get our news now – they just scrape the bottom of the social media garbage can for the maggots and publish it.
It’s not that I don’t see people without masks or wearing a mask improperly. I do. But here’s my impression of all those people
Ehfuckit: The person who left the mask in the car. Too lazy to go back for it.
ParticipationRibbon: The person who is wearing a mask around their neck.
BeardProtection: The person who is wearing the mask on the chin,
Igottabeathe: The person who is wearing the mask just under the nose.
Imsweatingunderhere: The person who is wearing the mask appropriately.
Most of people have done all of the above at different points. Because we are human. No one is all one thing. Certainly we are not a homogenous group.
It’s not that I don’t believe that there are people who refuse to wear a mask. It’s that I think they got their balls to do that because so many people are screaming about people who refused so they figure they have lots of compadres in their quest to be selfish and are given fuel to do this. We are feeding them by giving prominence to the tiniest group.
Then add in how it easy it is to get in touch with the selfish and ignorant club on the internet and now we have a movement. A movement that I posit would not have existed in 1983. I don’t want to go back to the pre-internet world. I think only if you lived without it, can you appreciate it for all the small and lovely ways it improves life. From banking to spelling to random interesting questions. Back in 1983 we just continued to wonder about something that came up in conversation. We didn’t go to the library and research it. We just never found out.
I don’t want to go back there. But it is true that the internet is not working quite so well on a societal level. sigh.
The week after July 4th weekend, several of my coworkers went away to the beach on vacation. Apparently they decided that if they pretended hard enough the whole pandemic thing didn’t apply to them, it just wouldn’t.
The company required all of them to be tested when they returned but didn’t stop them from coming back into work while they waited for the results.
On Thursday, one of them announced that one of the people he and his father (both work for us) were on vacation with tested positive. They were still waiting for their results but they were sent home immediately.
Unfortunately that was after I had extensive contact with one of their phones and computer. I’m an idiot too.
Yesterday one of them was told he was positive and one was negative. Happily the one whose workspace I was in, was negative, but…
I went to get tested today. The drive through line was a literal mile long. But they are VERY efficient. I was done in less than an hour. But if I have this virus because these two idiots HAD TO GO TO FLORIDA, I am going to have to exercise a whole lot of anger management.
Is it impossible to sacrifice a vacation for the well being of your community? I just don’t understand.
I had one of those places in a wood behind the house I lived in when I was 14. It was county park – a large well maintained woodland. Not particularly mysterious or dangerous.
But deep inside of it was a stand of very tall pine trees, who through many years of shedding pine needles had smothered away all the underbrush. There were giant lower branches that had sagged down in spots so you had to duck under them. But once you were in there and under the pines, it was like being inside a house made by trees. I would sit down on a towel on top of the pine needles and read a book.
It was very far from the path and I got lost several times going to and coming from it. But I adored it, so I kept seeking it out.
I wish I could go to visit that magic place now. Although, I wonder if I would even be able to find it now. Or would it still be as magical? Perhaps it’s magic was connected to the person I was in those moments. A day dreamer. A awkward teenager, looking for solace. Actually. Maybe I am still the same, just change teenager to 55 year old and…
FC was not around when I arrived home to feed him yesterday. I had an extremely bad day, that had been the nadir of several bad weeks. And when he didn’t trot out to meet me or come when I called, I decided he was dead. And the tears that had been falling down my face fairly consistently all day, started again. Welcome to my broken brain – always focusing on the worst outlook.
As I leaned over to put his food down, I caught sight of him. Under the truck – eating a chipmunk. And he was not even considering the fine Fancy Feast cat food I was offering him. He clearly prefers fresh to canned.
I was soo relieved. On all levels. Not just because he was alive and well, but because he is clearly able to hunt well and feed himself. And while I don’t plan to stop feeding him, it’s just a comfort somehow. He’s a wild being.
This morning he came trotting up to me to lead me to his dining area so he could have his breakfast. He’s too wise to ignore a gift of food.
He’s been given a proper name, so now he is not FC – Feral Cat. He is FC Ferguson Cat.
FC is getting closer to making full on friends with me.
It used to be that he was only there 1 in 4 times when I went to feed. Then it was once a day. Now it’s everytime. I put out food 2x a day.
It used to be that when I showed up, he would run to the spot under the truck where he knew I would place the food. Now he runs toward me and then proudly leads me to his spot under the truck, with his tail high.
It used to be I didn’t know his gender because I never saw his tail up in the air. Now it’s a happy flag pole when I arrive.
On Saturday I put the food out in the open, in front of where I was standing. And he walked right over and ate, without showing signs of anxiety.
I have not made any attempt to touch him.Since he is no longer hurt, I feel no need to hurry this process. I want him to feel completely unpressured to be my friend.
This is his spot under the truck.
I don’t keep the water under the truck because black flaky yuck ends up falling into the water. So it sits just outside the truck on the ground. It gets plant debris in it, but I’m not as worried that plant leaves are going to give him some form of cancer. Who knows what sort of horrors are lining the bottom of that truck. They certainly shouldn’t be ingested.
I’d like to move the food to a different spot, but it’s problematic about where to move it.
I’ve been giving serious thought to moving to the empty apartment below me. Most of my worries about this cat would disappear if I did. He can come and go from that balcony with ease. But I really do like my apartment. Which is just slightly larger and also more private because it’s on the second floor. And also – moving! Yuck. Yuck. yuck. sigh.
But all of that is kind of selfish of me.
The alternative is a cat house. Like this one. I’d have to get permission from my landlord to place it against the building in the backyard. But would it be enough? And would he even go in? Both my indoor cats were trapped ferals. Neither will even sit in a shoe box and absolutely abhor the cat carrier. I’m wondering if FC will go into anything that resembles a cage. I wish I knew.
Three mornings a week, I walk with my friend in a local park. Last weeks we walked right up to a turtle, who apparently was going to cross the path at some point, but had decided it needed thinking about as we approached.
That is an Eastern Box Turtle, for your information. A male of the species. You can tell that he is a male because he has red eyes. She said all eruditish, because she googled it and read half an article and looked at lots of turtle pictures.
There is something utterly delightful about seeing an animal in the wild. Particularly one which you rarely see. We have often seen deer in this wood. Last year a doe had twin fawns. They were so beautiful and lovely to see. I’m afraid my picture of them isn’t great.
The walk was initially a prescription by my doctor for stroke prevention. Because I had the stroke and didn’t know it. It turns out that’s bad and a sign of poor choices and a good indicator of future strokes. So instructions were given to start moving. I started to walk. And it has been such a boon to my mental health. Honestly, I have quite forgotten that I’m doing it to prevent strokes.
But then as I was planting, I cut off the bottom shoots so I could bury it nice and deep. And well – there they were – excellent cuttings.
So I planted one cutting of each of the bought seedling and had to actively talk myself out of planting all of them. It’s insurance. You never know what could happen, you know. It’s best to just take out a bit of insurance. And now I have back ups of the two main tomatoes.
Also I have 5 tomato plants and I’m a single person living alone with two cats, who are obligate carnivores. I honestly don’t know what I am going to do if all of them thrive. Perhaps someone at work will want a late seedling… Or maybe I could do two plants to a pot. But I don’t like to stress my babies.
I’m going to the bait shop this afternoon to buy some worms to put in the pots. Because tomatoes deserve worm friends. I’ve crushed up all the dried up plants from last year and I’m going to put that on top of the soil as a feed for the worms. Although the soil is pretty rich – so I think they are likely to be OK, in any case.