Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Really New Yorker? More Future Earthquake/Tsunami Pain for Oregon

The New Yorker magazine is trying to take down Oregon I think.  Yet another article has been printed about Oregon's disaster to come, the big Cascadia earthquake with tsunami, declaring a 30% chance of it happening in the next 50 years and a 10% chance of the really big one hitting in that same time frame.

As if the Oregon coastal communities are not struggling enough now economically, the magazine advises tourists not to overnight in the tsunami zone, since they won't know as well as locals might know, routes to higher ground.

The locals in the tsunami zone are mostly toast anyway, with few roads to high ground and these would quickly clog.  Could you get it together, in an earthquake ravaged house, to get out and to high ground in 10 to 15 minutes after the shaking stops before the big huge wave comes?  Think about it. What if some family members were trapped or badly injured from the quake itself?  Could you leave them, to save yourself and other family members?  If I lived there, I'd be doing drills with my family, so you'd know what to do on autopilot.

The NewYorker crew must be really sure this is an extreme threat to write such articles and create such fear, in Oregon, and to discourage a big part of the economy for coastal towns---tourism.  New York doesn't care one whit about Oregon, I doubt.

Here's the Oregonian article about the New Yorker article:

Click it if you want to read it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blackberries!

I went out to pick blackberries this morning at the farm where I cut them a few weeks ago.  I guess they're not really a farm.  They cut the back field and sell the hay but the livestock they have, well they're all pets.  When I was out there before, I got to rub a goat's noggin, because it was itchy.

I had to be careful because after the last time out there, I got poison oak.  It's in the ditch along the road.  I had been looking in a drain pipe, that goes under the road, for kittens.  That's how I got it.

They had a cat show in the field, with two kittens.  With nowhere they were being fed, I could not catch them, a month ago.  And that poor mother is struggling to survive by trying to catch mice.  I was told she is gray or gray and white.  I believe her kittens did not survive.  I've never seen the cat.

No one has now for about a week.  But this time, I left a trap tied open along a field fence, a fence line she'd been seen along before, but not for awhile.  There's food in it.  The most recent sighting is down a ways.  But she may find it.  I left a food trail out to the road but probably the birds will eat that. They're going to renew the food daily, in the morning.  It's really hard to trap there because they have outside allowed cats and there are possums and raccoon.  They only feed inside so they don't feed everything else on earth.

Many of the blackberries still are not ripe but I got half a bucket before the heat set in.  I kept coughing and I could feel irritation in my throat from whatever I was breathing.   Dust is the allergen that gets to me the most.

When I left I understood.  Just down the road, the grass seed farmers are plowing under the fields to replant.  They do this from air conditioned sealed cabin tractors, but the dust clouds they raise affect everyone else.  The dust thrown up and blown by the wind pervades the air, even when you can't see the cloud of it anymore.  There are times I can't drive to Lebanon because of the dust, feels like sand in my eyes and poison to my lungs.




Grass seed is produced in this valley, and all around me.  There are two seed warehouses within a mile of me, in fact.  The warehouses dot the valley.  Grass seed "farming" is quite lucrative. I put farming in quotes because I still tend to think of farmers as those who produce food that humans eat.  But I think "farmer" really means anyone whose livelihood comes out of the ground.

Sometimes I think of all the land in this valley that is put to growing grass for seed and think what if it grew food.  But it's not my land.  Sometimes I think as a native Oregonian be nice we got a break on things Oregon grows, like seed or blueberries or hazelnuts or salmon.  I think that sometimes.

The salmon are dying in Oregon rivers right now.  They return to spawn in streams, but this year, the water is too warm and its killing them.  Over a quarter million returning Sockeye salmon have died thus far.  Some put the number closer to half million.  The Chinook salmon fared better.  They seem to tolerate the warm water better.  There will be other runs later on of different species and who knows how they will do.  The heat this year combined with no rain is unbelievable for Oregon.  We're headed into another stretch of six days with temperatures forecast over 90 and two days, tomorrow and Thursday, where it will be near 100.

 Grass seed production doesn't require much in labor.  You don't have many employees.  You don't water the grass, it grows on its own all winter and then they cut it when the seed heads are ripe.  Sometimes they hire that out.  Then they sift it out and bag it and ship it out in the bags when they get orders.  It's what is used for lawns and sports fields all over the world.   If they hold onto it, bagged and stacked to the ceiling in huge warehouses, sometimes they seal up the warehouse and gas it, killing everything alive inside.  Rodent control.  But the gassing kills unlucky birds and cats too.  I was shocked to hear about the gassing of warehouses.  Probably happens with other seed crops too.  Made me shiver to think of animals and birds dying that way.

One animal loving seed farmer I knew tried to invent some other form of rodent control that wasn't so mean to birds and other animals, that might be in the warehouses, like cats.  He loves cats.  I never wanted to know about the warehouse gassing.

I have trapped cats at lots of seed warehouses.  I love to trap at seed warehouses.  I used to nap, when I became exhausted, way up laid out across seed bags stacked high on pallets.

Backside of a seed warehouse with huge piles of grass seed.  In the store, here, we pay $10 for just 3 lbs, if you can even find it that cheap.  It's extremely expensive.


The seed farmers also cut the straw, or stubble left after harvesting the seed.  They bale it and ship it to S. Korea, where livestock farmers mix it into feed.


I doubt I'll catch that poor cat out there before she dies of starvation, is hit on the road, or some asshole shoots her.  But I wanted to try.  They struggle so hard, the cats who end up dumped way out and especially the females, who get pregnant and starving, try so hard to hunt enough mice to feed hungry kittens.

I feel for them.  I wish others did out there.  It's unforgiving out there.  Kittens often get chopped to pieces during harvest.

One time these people called me, out that way, a little farther out.  They'd left to go camping but had seen a badly injured cat they didn't know go under their deck to get away from their dogs.  I went out and was able to call the cat out.  He crawled out crying, on his belly.

Took my breath away.  I recoiled in horror.  He had only one leg that wasn't damaged.  The other three had all been cut off to some extent.  Gangrene had set in.  The stubs were black with infection and smelled.  I rushed him to the nearest vet where his suffering ended.   He'd been chopped up by harvest equipment.  I couldn't look at the machines in the fields the same way anymore.  The clinic said they get all kinds of animals chopped up, even fawns.  It's just the way it is, I guess.

My brother says he's going to pay my internet when I can't.  So I'm still connected.  I have guilt over it, so I don't know.  But for now, I'm good.  Sorry about the gorry post.   The country is where people dump their unwanted cats, the stupid fucks, because most suffer horrible slow and painful and terribly sad ends.






Sunday, July 26, 2015

Astoria Trip, Other Photos

I didn't post all the photos from the last trip to the N. coast with Honey and Mums.  So here they are....

Ship on the Columbia

Pilings and Gulls

Lewis and Clark Shine in Seaside

Engraving
I also stopped at Camp 18, which is at mile marker 18, on highway 26, 18 miles east of highway 101.  I'd seen it when going by several times but this time I pulled in.  It's a restaurant and gift shop and all about Oregon logging.  Down the parking lot is another building that houses a logger's memorial, for those lost in this dangerous profession.

A cat immediately strolled off the wood porch to smell my car.

The cat belonged to the proprietors.

I couldn't go inside because it was warm and I had cats in the car, but I did take a few photos of the log art figures, carved out of large chunks of wood.



 Smokey the Bear was a large part of my Oregon childhood.   He was the face of campaigns to prevent forest fires.  "Only you can prevent forest fires!"


This was the door handle into the gift shop.




Oregon Bigfoot!


Friday, July 24, 2015

End of Internet?

I am probably going to need to disconnect from internet.  It will make keeping up on the blog harder but not completely impossible.  I might be able to keep it going somewhat with occasional library access.  I hate to cut off internet, because I had hoped to fund raise online for the nonprofit.  However, I've not done well at extending a donor base.  Thank you so much to those who have donated and undying gratitude to those who have done so multiple times.

I don't raise enough to cover the vet care let alone food and litter.  Cutting internet will let me buy two bags of cat food almost per month.   That internet deal, my latest attempt to keep internet going here, with comcast, will run out anyway first of November and then most likely I will not find another I can afford.  So at best, I would have internet another three months anyway, before being forced to disconnect.

It's a hard decision but I don't want to give up the cats.  They have to eat and so do I.

It's the only extra in my life that I could cut so as to help myself and the cats survive.  I do not eat out or buy clothes or anything like that.  I'm still trying to find a way around it, but looks dismal.

I've got to come up with a new way to live, to survive, as costs go up for everything.  Gas is still $3 a gallon here, even though it was supposed to have gone down in price.  Not here.  And the state is considering huge gas tax hikes to discourage driving and pay for road improvements.  The city just increased the franchise fee they charge the electric company which means electric prices will go up again.  Water/sewer costs here are extremely high and I don't know why.  This is a small town with virtually no city services to speak of.  I doubt living costs will go down and my SS check isn't going to go up enough to cover all the continual increases.  There is no recreation available without driving fairly long distances.

I have to have a car to be able to get groceries, cat litter, cat food, and to take cats to the vet, go to the doctor and to escape cul de sac isolation now and then.  So dumping the car is not an option.

My only options to decrease costs come with somehow decreasing the cost of utilities, food for me or food, litter costs for the cats.  I think I can decrease food costs for me by being much stricter with myself and making one trip monthly to Salem, to get most of my food at a far cheaper cost at Winco.

We do not have an affordable grocery store in town although Winco is coming to Albany and I can't wait for that store to be built.

I'm thinking of ways to reduce garbage costs, by instead of paying for the bigger can, for primarily dirty cat litter, sifting the litter of feces and then putting the rest, all just sawdust, into the yard debris container.  My friend said it is entirely wood, with some added urea, which makes it even more desirable for compost, which is what the garbage company does with it, then resells it, at inflated price.  She said to to quit putting it in my garbage if I sift it.  I think she's right, but I could also compost it here myself if I could make a suitable compost bin.  Right now I just have a pile and have no tool to turn it with.  A friend in Portland takes her sifted pellet fuel litter sawdust to a place that takes it for free, to turn into compost.  They love getting it.

That would reduce costs by about $12 per month.  But that is the most I can reduce costs there.

I'm thinking of just taking cold showers.  Wouldn't hurt me.  I'll start by setting a 3 minute timer for showers.  It would be hard to reduce the water/sewer because there is a basic rate, that is already almost $90 per month that includes a basic amount of water, over which the charge goes up.  I rarely exceed the basic rate.  That leaves only electric, garbage and internet as reduction possibilities.

I'm thinking I might not need a refrigerator.  It's usually mostly empty anyhow.  The refrigerator, dryer and water heater cost the most in energy use.  I rarely use any hot water now, only for showers, or for coffee water, but that is heated on the stove.  If I can switch to cold showers, I can turn off the hot water heater.  It will just take some getting used to.

I'm trying to think of ways so that I can have a bit more money in my life rather than the daily difficult grind to just survive.

I will not feel sorry for myself over the internet thing.  I have been lucky to have it.  Many many people in this area cannot afford such a thing, nor any TV.  I am lucky to have that old antenna atop the house to pull in a few channels.  And I can always rent DVD's from Redbox now and then, for a bit of entertainment.  I am fairly convinced now this will be something I need to do and I'm sure I will adjust in time.




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finding Light

I don't care what they say about those squiggly looking fluorescent light bulbs we're all forced to use now that vacuum tube light bulbs are outlawed as too energy inefficient.  I hate them!

I call them mercury bulbs for ease of conversation and because they are full of mercury and if that is environmentally friendly, then that is nuts!

When they break and they often do, the mercury vapor put out around you is stunning.  And they don't last the way they're supposed to.  Mine burn out all the time.  Which is why today I had to go on a light hunt.  
Mercury bulb

I didn't want mercury bulbs however and although I meant to stock up on the banned vacuum tube bulbs before the ban, I never did.

The Home Depot lighting department guy got on my case and wanted to sell me LED bulbs, the latest trending in light bulbs.  Allegedly they are brighter, more energy efficient, and they don't have mercury. I hate LED flashlights so I was again skeptical.  LED flashlights have a bright light that does not extend far and is not natural so illuminates abnormally.   But one bulb for $7?  What?   I howled in protest.  He said, "well how much do you want to pay for one light bulb?"  "$1" said I.  The vacuum tube bulbs were $1 for about 3 bulbs, sometimes more.
LED light bulbs

"How about $3?" he said and finally talked me into that, since they were still cheaper than the mercury bulbs.  But at Walmart, I found them at just over $2 per bulb and another alternative to mercury bulbs---the halogen bulb and they are cheap, so I got the halogen bulbs.
Halogen Bulbs

We'll see how they hold up.   The Home Depot guy told me they tested the mercury bulbs and they use more energy than they claim.  I'm just happy there are legal alternatives to those dangerous and polluting mercury bulbs.
 




Sunday, July 19, 2015

8 More Fixed, a good day for Cats!

Long day.  Didn't help the orange tabby female kitten screamed every other second the entire drive up to the clinic this morning.  But we made it.  Then, a very long check in line that took an hour to clear.  Oh well.

Betty, a Salem diehard, brought up 11 then slept in her car most of the day near the clinic.   I went to see a movie after hanging out for a couple of hours in a parking lot.   We cat trappers are a load of fun!

Everything hurt by evening and again, long delays in cat pickup.  They got behind I guess.  Well, they fixed over 90 cats.

The Happy Cat Club, my nonprofit, donated $50 towards the 8 fixes.  It's not much and fixing cats isn't free, but at least it was something.

Thank you FCCO.

5 girls and 3 boys.  I took six from the trailer park and two from a house where I've taken cats to be fixed from before.  They'd gotten two more kittens somewhere and the neighborhood wants everyone fixed.  So off they went.  One of them was the orange tabby girl, the screamer.

Scream!

Scream's sister, a delightful loving black tux girl.
I took a male, too, born at the park, but tamed by the couple who feed him.  They have two other males, one an orange tabby and already fixed, and the other Tickle, whom I trapped at the old woman's place and who was fixed last trip.

Matt, a sweet young adult male, now fixed.
The other five I trapped at the old woman's place.  The teen black turned out to be a girl.  I call her Matilda.

Teen black Matilda

Gang of Five black female kitten Milly
Mikey, the black tux with the button nose, and Mason, the sweetheart brown tabby, are both boys.
Molly, a black tux female, and Mikey's sister, also fixed
Well, fortunately, all 8 are back with their people.  The old woman was so happy about it all, and had set up a room for the kittens and Matilda the teen, for recovery.   Even the neighbors waved at me as I gimped around, loading the empty traps back in my car.

The old woman has got a tire going out on the front of her car.   She says its worn from the inside, not a flat and she can't afford new tires.  I worry about her driving that way.  I wonder if we could somehow raise the money to get her tires.

Off to bed for me.  A good day for area cats and thanks again to the FCCO, for working so hard all day up there, fixing almost 100 cats from all over.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Striking Gold at the Trailer Park

I hit the jackpot.  I had five fixing reservations for the FCCO clinic Sunday.

I have five wild things in my bathroom, escaping today's predicted near 100 degree heat outside, with toys (for the first time).  It's noisy in my bathroom.

Kittens!

I hit the jackpot, struck gold, kitten gold, that is, Oregon brood.

I've got a black teen and a tabby kitten who is a mama's boy and is already hugging me and purring.

Not so much the black teen.

I've got two wildly playful black tuxes and just this morning, I trapped the fourth kitten member of the Gang of Five, a little black girl, who is already google eyeing me as a possible mom replacement.

I love kittens.   They adapt readily, know what's important (food, play, sleep and love) and pursue those ideals 24/7.

By teenage years, most become paranoid, snobby and standoffish, like human teens.

And the one teen in the bathroom is all that.

Well, it's back to bed for me, while the kittens allow it.  My cats are huffy with outrage, except for my kitten lovers--Jade and Brambles, who badly want into the bathroom to interact.

It's this black teen I caught, now in my bathroom, to be fixed tomorrow.
Now in the bathroom, giving me the eye.
Black tux kitten

The tabby boy, a mama's boy, purrs, prances and hugs me.  The black tux with the button black nose is not so wild either.

Gang of Five girl kitten, the fourth from the gang to be fixed.  Two black boys and one Siamese girl are the other three from the gang already fixed.  One left to catch.

Black girl Gang of Fiver again
BlackieToo, fixed June 25, contemplates Life after Neuter.
Big fixed Jack rolls in.  He knows he's cool and so does everyone else.
Black and white kitten, hanging with Gang of Fiver Tabitha, the Siamese.  The black tux button nose is now in my bathroom.
Well, there are other cats to catch at the park, but I stopped at the five kittens, because its hot and the bees were out swarming the bait, and I'm tired, having stayed out at the park til 11:30 last night.  I'm picking up another unfixed male there this evening and two other kittens, so if all goes as planned, I'll be three over my five reservations, but I know they'll fix them all.

Nighty night.  Not a bad thing, to sleep, while outside the weather is scorching.  Supposed to be near 100 degrees today.  The new norm for Oregon.

Tomorrow I take them all to be fixed at the FCCO clinic.   I am very much hoping, because it is the weekend, that I won't be horribly bogged in traffic for much of the day.   Portland is a car clogged city and the thought of going there with the need to navigate that is unpleasant.  I'll need to kill the day somehow too, and it will be hot.  No car sleeping in such weather.   No climbs up in the gorge either when its in the 90's.  The rescue house is rented out now so no hanging out there either.  The rivers up there are low and will be jammed in people no doubt.  I'm trying to think what I'll do for the day.

I don't like hanging out in NE much due to all the violence lately.  Another shooting yesterday I think at the Lloyd Center, which is not far from the clinic.  I was near when a shooting took place in Salem once.  I was looking for a lost cat.  I stopped on one street to give a woman, walking a lost cat flier.  She seemed off, and said "Oh, so you're just looking for a cat".  I said I was and then I drove up to the light and made a left, then was going to turn into a shoddy apartment complex again, right by a gas station on the corner.  As I was making that turn, there were a bunch of loud popping sounds.  I thought something was going wrong with my car.  But the minivan that turned just ahead of me pulled over in the complex and when I stopped to give the driver a lost cat flier, she told me I needed to get out of the area now.   She pointed out the bullet holes in the back of her minivan.   It turned out to be a woman who opened fire at the gas station and I believe it was the same woman I'd just given a flier to, who had seemed so off when I talked to her.  Stray bullets hit the rear of the car in front of me.  Those popping sounds were not coming from my car.

 I was lucky.  And I did go home.  It was too close.  I never heard what her big issues were that she would do that.  No one was hurt, fortunately.  But Portland's gang violence issue is severe and it makes me think about it, when I go there.

Well, I am very very lucky to have AC here where I live with the heat we've had.  I never have had before and suffered summers.  I know someone who is currently suffering and tried to make a DIY swamp cooler, as I'm making for the garage cat room, out of a cooler, ice, pvc pipes (for vents) and a small fan.  She cut her finger, so I told her to come on over tomorrow, so I have a cat babysitter acomin', who will enjoy my AC and hopefully the kitties will get some needed human variance experience.  I warned her, some of the cats here are a wee bit spoiled. I won't name names.

And me, well, I've decided to spend my time waiting for the cats enjoying movie theater AC again, as I did three weeks ago, when I took cats to be fixed.   AC is awesome!!  DIY swamp coolers?  Not so much but not bad either when you have nothing else.

How do you make them?  Get an ice chest, either a nice plastic one or even a foam one.  Get some pvc right angles and trace around them on the top of the ice chest, then cut out those holes and fit the pvc right angle pieces into the holes tightly.  Two is good, face them the same or different directions or change them up as desired.  They're going to blow out the cold air.

Put a small fan in, same way.  Can be battery powered or have a cord.  Trace and cut out a piece of the ice chest to fit it in tightly, blowing into the ice chest.  Place a big chunk of block ice into the ice chest.  Turn on the fan.  Turn your pvc angled pieces the direction you want the cold air to blow.  You're set.  Until the ice melts that is.