Monday, November 30, 2015

Now It's Freezing Rain

Freezing rain has added in to the misery here.

The furnace part hasn't arrived yet, I'm told, when I called.

Yesterday, I took Linksee, the big wild boy from my garage, to Dallas.  She said she would get him fixed today.  She took in his kittens, whom I trapped a couple blocks from here in a parking lot, three of whom look way too much like him to not be related.

I already had six appointments today with Heartland for some Lebanon cats. I'd not been able to get a response on whether I could bring a 7th, so I'd looked for another way to get the big yard stray fixed.  That's why I took him to Dallas yesterday. I took her two bags of dry food for helping me out.  Only fair.

 The Happy Cat club covered four of the six fixes to be done today at Heartland.   But....will any of these cats actually get fixed today?  Why do I wonder?  Because of the weather, that's why.

This morning, before driving the six cats to Heartland, I saw a rainbow in the west.  In the east, a colored sunrise.  Red at night, sailors' delight.  Red in the morning, sailors take warning.

I knew it would not be a good day when I saw the sunrise, colored as it was.

Shortly thereafter, rain began to fall.  With temperatures well below freezing, that means the rain freezes when it hits the ground.  Or....the road.

I made it to Heartland with the cats without incident.  But on the way back, I began to see all kinds of cars off the road, some going the wrong direction, some pointed down slopes, people standing beside them, on their phones.

I knew.  Freezing rain.  You can't see it, you don't really know if its there.  Often its only in certain places, like on bridges or high curves or overpasses.

I slowed way down and made it off the highway.  But going north, back into Albany, a deputy was behind me.  He then passed me in the other lane, but we both slowed further coming to a red light.  I'd seen nobody slide in this area, but when I put on the brakes for the stop light, my car slid, and kept sliding, and the brakes, being anti lock, would engage only for a split second then release.  So I slipped and slid through the red light.

I knew the deputy would stop me and he did.  He just checked my license and let me go, no ticket.  Whew!  That's all I need, a ticket to pay for, with it freezing and no heat in the house, space heaters running, which is going to cost seriously in the electric bill, not even knowing how I will pay for the furnace repair since I can't get ahold of my brother and if I can't get ahold of him when the part does come and is installed, I'll have to come up with the cash and it will be over $500.

It's a huge repair, darn it.  I feel guilty over its cost and I'm thinking we can return that mattress, get a refund, to help pay for the furnace repair.  I'd rather be warm than sleep on a new mattress.  The mattress can be returned for up to 100 days.  I'm going to suggest that to him, to help ease the burden.

I hope that Dallas woman didn't make the trip to get cats fixed, if there is freezing rain up there.  Too dangerous. I don't know if the Heartland vet will make it to work or not and if not those six won't get fixed either.  Hopefully she did get to work.  It won't last long, the freezing rain, lets hope.

But, just like the blower motor failure in the furnace, these things happen.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

It's Freezing!

Last night it got down to near 20 degrees and tonight its supposed to be even colder.

I'm freezing, with two space heaters going.

Guess I'm getting soft.  The house has turned into a giant ice box.  Store your perishables here!

I let the faucets drip last night. The pipes didn't freeze.  But tonight, I can feel the floor through my socks and it is ice cold, which means it is ice cold under the house too, where the pipes run.

My old cats are my biggest concern, but I have 3 heating frisbees and old Vision gets two of those three.

I slept ok last night, with several cats around me and also trying to get under the blankets next to me because it was so darn cold.  The only part of me that got cold---my nose, just like when I used to sleep out under the stars in Alaska.  Back then, I'd wrap a scarf over my nose.  Keeps me all around warmer, with my nose covered and warm, because then I'm breathing in warmer air too.  Tonight, I'll do the same here.  I used an R.E.I. sleeping bag rated to minus 55 when I was in Alaska.  I kept that darn bag, even though the zipper is long gone.  Nostalgia I guess.  Maybe I should haul it out.  It's never been suitable for camping here in Oregon.  Too hot!

The wild thing male in my garage is now enjoying the creature comforts of heat and lots of food.  Guess he decided its not all that bad. Took a bit of persuasion that included piping hot tuna and catnip.  Course Sam is not at all happy about his presence.  My totally insecure boy.  But that's one reason why I had to get this big guy fixed once I spotted him in my yard.  Sam goes nuts when an unfixed male is roaming through. Will take a month or so after he's neutered for him not to smell like an unfixed big boy.

I covered some of the windows today.  Only have (hopefully) tonight and tomorrow night to endure.  I hope Monday they find a replacement motor for the furnace.  Crossing fingers and frozen toes.

I'd sure hate to be homeless in such weather.   At least, when it rains, its warmer.  I think about all the animals out there freezing in this.

Last night, tonight and tomorrow night are the coldest nights we've had this year.  Then by Monday night, the temp is predicted to fall only to 33 degrees.   By Monday night, with any luck, my furnace will work again.   Why in the world does the thing break down, from age, during the coldest nights of the year?   That just seems cruel.  But we will endure here.  No biggee.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bad Timing. Furnace Fails.

I like cold weather well enough.

But gosh darn it, today I noticed it was getting colder and colder in the house.  I thought I better turn up the thermostat that maybe I forgot to turn it back up this morning.  I turn it down for the night.

Then I remembered it seemed cold and quiet in here last night, when I got home.  I was gone much of the day.  Turning up the thermostat didn't have any affect.  The fan wasn't working either, but I could hear the heat pump outside going strong.  I went into the garage, and not a sound was the furnace making, except some strange clicks. I put my ear against its metal side, to listen and all I heard was an ominous low hum.

Uh oh.  Regardless, I flipped the circuit breakers on and off and changed the batteries in the thermostat.  Still, nothing.  I called my brother, who is still up in Washington visiting his daughter.   He said I better call a repairman.  So I tried.  I went down the list of those listed for Albany.

Numbers disconnected.  No answers.  One was closed til Monday for the holiday.  I finally got one answer.  They came right away.  The news was not good.  The blower motor is frozen up and there's a coupling bad too.  I asked why and he said "old age".  The furnace is 40 years old, original with the house, which was built in the early 70's.

I can understand things freezing up with age.  I can understand that concept real well.

However, the timing is certainly not the best.  Accuweather says tomorrow the high will be 41 degrees and the low 24 degrees.  24 degrees is pipe freezing weather and without heat, that's all I need as add on--frozen broken pipes.

My brother said to get the cats to lay atop the pipes to keep them warm.  Sure.  Right.

I'll just pile cats on me, wear them as heaters.

The heat guy said he might be able to get a new motor on Monday, he's not sure.  I said "see you then".  He says, "I hope you can keep warm."  I said, "No worries," and slapped my stomach, "body fat."

These things happen.


I milked this holiday for all it was worth!

First, last Sunday, I went up to Portland for lunch with my older brother and his wife, who is an outstanding chef.  Enjoyed a very healthy salad as main dish with roasted vegetables in it along with kale, nuts and seeds.  It was so delicious I thought about it for days after.   It was also very good to see them.  They were off to Idaho for the holiday, to be with her parents.

Then my younger brother, his wife and son stopped on their way north to spend the holiday with my brother's adult daughter, in Washington.  It had to be a quick breakfast since I had an appointment but I got to see them for almost an hour.

Yesterday, I first went to visit a friend and her husband a few blocks away then went out for dinner beyond Philomath, to a gorgeous location out in the hills.  The house is high up a hill and overlooks the valley and mountains to the west.
I don't know why I took a picture of this, along the road.

The day was cold but sunny here. 

The food and company were great.  Thanks for inviting me Dianna!

I was home by 7:00.  I trapped a huge Lynx Point Himalayan in my yard, number 54 unfixed cat to roam through since moving here.  I wasn't really trapping for him.  I'd seen another cat I didn't know, sides stuck out so far I thought "fat or pregnant" and the latter worried me enough to set a trap.  But instead of that cat, I caught this boy.  And he's not happy.  There's not a tame hair on his body.

He is the 3rd Lynx Point male I've trapped in my yard.  Backyard breeder nearby?  All have been wild.  However, he sure looks a lot like the little Lynx Point girl kitten I trapped a couple months back in that parking lot a few blocks from here.  Her Daddy, I'd guess.   Holding him has not been fun.  He tears up the cage each night.  I transferred him from my small, but completely comfortable for one cat, cage, to an ultra large cage, built a carpeted shelf for it too, since I can't get him fixed til Monday.  Still he's unhappy.  I tell him how cold it is outside nights that he's lucky to be inside and warm, but he remains unimpressed.  I will be SO happy to get him neutered and released.

The kittens are still here.  So far no home interest in them.  I keep working at getting them tame, but I really need other people to handle them also.

I got this in the mail, from my Canada cat loving friend.....Awesome eh?  And the box is now a play toy for the kittens!

Miss D, self satisfied and nobody better mess with MY cat treats!
Speaking of whom.......

Brambles LOVES kittens.

Which gray long hair is this?  Bluebell of course!

Gracie bored with the cold weather outside. 
Catching morning rays on a cold winters day

Oci remains unimpressed with me and all I do for her.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Camera from Australia, Kittens and Ugly Nature

Andrew sent me his old camera when he upgraded.  I like it.  Small, heavy, which makes me think its well built (I don't know why), and very easy to use.  The only trouble is a quickly drained battery and then I could not recharge it because it's an Australian type plug in, with slanted contacts.

I will cut off that plug and attach an American type.  I thought I had a plug somewhere, to use, so I could do that tonight, but wouldn't you know, I can't find it.

Ah well, tomorrow then.  Also will order an extra battery.

Here are the first photos I took on the camera.  Two of Tonka and one of Winter.

Now, to the ugly side of nature.

I was coming down under the over pass, near the cop shop and homeless shelter, when  a huge hawk, Red Tail I think, came swooping out of nowhere and plucked an unsuspecting gull from the air.  It was a big bird the hawk took from the sky and the hawk struggled then briefly, losing altitude, before securing his prey and flying back across several railroad tracks to sit atop a utility pole where he began to tear the poor bird apart to eat.

I drove back around several blocks to where I could cross the tracks, then back to sit across from that utility pole.  I had only my phone as camera, but I took video and pictures, as feathers rained down, like snow falling, from the carnage above.

The hawk was very large, far larger than the Coopers hawks that frequent the blocks near me to hunt down anything they can snatch from the air.   Our small town has a lot of hawks currently, and they kill a lot of small birds.

It isn't pretty at all.  In fact, it is gruesome to watch and yet the hawks are mesmerizing in their skill and beauty.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Three Kittens Plus Box Insanity

Donation Challenge:  
UPDATE On the Donation Challenge:  We achieved the $350 match!  Yay!  But....the donor being impressed possibly with all of your support, offered up another match up to $350 more!  Let's Do This!  And thank you so much to all those who have contributed.  You should all be granted knighthood or sainthood or whatever honor you wish bestowed.

Now, to Kittens.

The three are still here.  And suddenly, like a switch was thrown, Winter came out of his shell, flopped on his side in the cat bed, and purred.  Then he wanted petted.

Winter loves chicken.  Tonka loves all food, maybe a little too much.  Mystic?  She likes to play.
Brotherly Love?  Tonka, give your bro, Winter, a swat and I bet he doesn't use your face as a paw rest again.
Eye on the Prize
Mystic Stalks Cat Toy
No rain yesterday, or today for that matter.  We did get our first frost of the year.  I took advantage of the clear day and spent it on the roof's edge scooping mucky half rotted stinky icky leaves out of the gutters.  Yuck!  

Now, to box insanity.  Sometimes the best toys arrive via mail.   Mail packaging that is.  The dry food Barb sent via Amazon is great.  But the box it came in?  The box is spectacular.

And lastly, well, a couple pairs of friends.

Alexi and Haley

You know who, with one of her besties

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Five

Donation Challenge:  
I have a donor willing to match up to $350 in donations to The Happy Cat Club, my nonprofit.  That means, if you donate $50, THCC gets $100!   This is totally exciting and a great opportunity!  As you know, every penny donated goes to feeding cats, fixing cats and vet care for cats.  No administrative costs or staff salaries weigh us down.  Let's do it!  Hit that donate button on the top right with a purr!   

The three freeway colony kittens are being fixed, tested, vaccinated and chipped today, over at Heartland Humane.  It's a great deal they offer.   Thank you to them and also to all those who contributed to the cost to get it done.

Their parents, both wild things, were fixed last week.

Which I feel is extremely important to the overall feline population.  If you take the kittens, you've got to fix the adults.

To get this little group fixed makes me happy.  I know its not much if you think of the larger problem or even compared to what other groups do.  But it does make me happy.  I can't help it.

The kittens will be heading to Portland at some point after Thanksgiving.  More resources up there, more adoption groups, more money, more energy.   Thank you to my friend, Keni.

Photos of the five:


Winter, the black boy with the white chest spot who can be hard to photograph, especially with a failing camera.  So I stylized a blurred photo of him.

And little Tonka, who is fast becoming Chubby.  I think that will pass, once he realizes the food dish is always full.

Wild daddy, fixed and returned.  Winter is his spitting image.
I finally covered the cage I made for Fat Oci, with chicken wire, to keep kittens in, and moved them into it last night, which immediately began to help with their socialization.

Wild mom.  Tonka and Mystic look just like her, Tonka minus the orange.  She was still lactating, still feeding them, but she didn't have much to give.  Fixed and returned.
It's a relief to know the kittens are getting fixed today.  It's my thing.  I'm not an adoption type of person although I have adopted out hundreds of cats in my time.  I much prefer the cat wrangling, the round ups for fixing, not only because it suits my nature more than doing adoptions, but because it is so cost and labor effective at making a real difference in the larger picture.