Stuff that has happened

Why doesn’t anything work anymore?

Anyone else’s notification bell not working? It hasn’t worked for weeks. I click and it thinks – remaining blank while it thinks. So if you replied to a comment I made, I probably didn’t see it.

Don’t even get me started on this new and unimproved editor.

This new goddamn editor doesn’t actually let me fix anything in a post. Instead of defaulting to inserting text, it’s overwriting it. Like this is 1995. What the hell? I actually had to take the paragraph out of the editor put it into Notepad, fix my text and then paste it back into the worst text editor of all time. I have no idea what I did to cause this because every damn thing about this thing is obscure and stupid.

I saw where I could switch to Classic Editor and clicked with glee. It’s not the classic editor. It’s a subdued pop up version of the old perfectly useful and functional editor. I miss it. I do. I’m old. I’m now grouchy about changes. And lauding the old ways.

Anyway – Let’s move on to brighter things – Cats.

FC took a jump off the balcony on Sunday. He had been going out on the balcony and being a well behaved boy for weeks. But Sunday was an especially beautiful day and I think it was more than he could stand to be inside. So he jumped, I heard the spindly tree shake as he caught it and went running downstairs. He was standing proudly at the bottom of the tree, looked me in the eye with defiance, raised his tail and stalked off into the underbrush for a walkabout. So I let him.

I went out at dinner time with some food, and he immediately came up, so instead of putting it down I decided to see if I could get him to walk into the building of his own volition. He did tentatively follow me in and walk up a half flight but got spooked by someone out on the sidewalk and took off out the door. I followed him with the food and we regrouped at the old feeding spot. He was very wary of being caught and so I decided to let him spend the night out. It was going to be a cold night – mid 40s. I decided he might be more amenable after a cold night.

I woke up at 6am and went down in the dark to find my boy, who immediately greeted me and was all kinds of fine with being picked up to come home. We had a lovely cuddle when we got in and he seems to have settled down – not even begging to go out.

I wish I had a way to let him come and go.

Tomatoes, Squirrels and Birds…Oh My

Tomatoes – now it’s me, the squirrel and some damn bird eating the last of the tomatoes. I don’t think I’m going get any of the last ones. Which is fine, honestly. They are hungrier, but… I never did get a decent sized one.

Oh well. Life goes on. Next year, I’m going to ask the landlord if I can put a couple of pots next to the driveway. Then there will be plenty of sun.

Oh. The Disappointment

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.  sad tomato harvest

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.  

FC – the new cat

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.

Life, Loneliness and Cats

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.

Covid-19, The Souvenir

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.

Ferguson Cat – the gift of happiness

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.

 

FC – Ferguson Cat

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.

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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.

 

 

 

Surprise Turtles

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That is a turtle on the path. Just hanging out. Being cool. Like a turtle.

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.

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If you look closely you can see he has red eyes. Which, apparently, is not a sign of a zombie turtle. So There You Go.

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.

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There are two fawns there. the one on the left is fairly obscured by the foliage.

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.

I may have planted too much insurance

So, what with buying 2 tomatoes, and finding a volunteer in my balcony pot, I was already assured of tomatoes.  I mean, surely?

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.

Balcony Gardening has BEGUN!

I spent many years in an apartment without any outdoor access and when I moved here there was a marvelous south facing balcony.  And I immediately started a tomato. It grew like a marvel but had terribly disappointing tomatoes.  Just slightly bigger than a cherry.  They were OK tasting.  But just not quite anything size wise.

The following year – a friend gave me one of her seedlings and it got a fungus and was generally not producing anything due to the disease.

The next year I fell into a mental health hole and my cats chewed my seedlings to bits and I just didn’t have a tomato.  It was a sad year.

So this year I bought seedlings online from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes.  She has a 4 plant minimum so I bought 4 and gave 2 to a friend as a housewarming present.  They arrived yesterday.

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It’s all VERY exciting.

I know what you are thinking – what does one person need with two tomato plants.  But it’s OK.  They are different tomatoes.   One is Green Zebra and one is Paul Robeson.  So.  Don’t judge.

Anyway – today I started to clean out the pot that I grow tomatoes in.  And there was a damn volunteer!

img_20200523_162721-1 So now I’m going to be growing 3 tomato plants, which I admit, is perhaps a bit much for one person.  But I can share.  Everyone loves tomatoes.  It’s a pandemic, dammit.  Tomatoes are the only good thing a person can look forward to, you know.  I’m just saying.

The real question is – where I am going to put the third one?  There’s one good spot for sun on the balcony because it’s a covered balcony.  There’s a second reasonably good spot and everything else is basically very bright partial shade.  It’s a dilemma.  It’s gonna take up some of my thinker space to figure it out.

I consider my volunteer to be an excellent omen.  It’s going to be a very good crop of tomatoes.